Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Wayfarers - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Now farewell, you kindly folk,
For our rest is ended:
Out into the wind and rain
Go the roving men again,
Whom ye have befriended.

We have sat beside your hearth,
Feasted with you gladly;
We whose way is on the seas,
We have stayed to take our ease,
Yet we go not sadly.

When the ropes are white with rime
Oft we shall remember,
How we sat at Christmas-tide
Honoured guests your hearth beside
In the bleak December.

When against the plunging keel
Crested seas are pouring,
Haply we shall deem that ye
Think of mariners at sea
When the gales are roaring.

We shall wander far and near
(Yet we shall remember)
Out into the driving rain
Go the sailor-men again
In the bleak December.
. . . . .

Now farewell, you homely folk,
Sisters, wives and mothers,
Out into the wind and rain
And the salt-spray of the main
Go your roving brothers.

We have talked with sailor-men
While the casements rattle,
Heard them tell strange tales by whiles
Of mysterious Eastern isles,
Kings of Ind, and battle.

They have told us wondrous tales, -
Tales of death and daring,
Seas no other seaman knew, -
Shown us signs to prove them true,
Mighty shoulders baring.

So farewell, you kindred all;
Yet we shall remember
Oft the firelight on the pane
Shining thro' the driving rain
In the bleak December.
. . . . .

Now farewell, you roving men,
Seaward from us faring,
In whose hearts the sailor-folk
Roused adventure when the spoke
Words of death and daring.

Haply, after many years, -
Swarthy, sturdy, free men,
Ye will come to us again,
Come as came the sailor-men
Who have made you seamen.

When the winter hurricane
Sets the doors a-shaking,
In the nights when wind and rain
Beat against the window-pane,
We shall shudder, waking.

When about the twilight room
Firelight shades are fleeting,
Often we shall sit and watch
For a hand upon the latch
And a voice of greeting.

O remember on the deep,
When you come, returning
Home from off the seas again
Out of wind and driving rain,
Bright the fire is burning.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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