Louise Driscoll: Harbury

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff


Louise Driscoll

All the men of Harbury go down to the sea in ships,
The wind upon their faces, the salt upon their lips.
The little boys of Harbury when they are laid to sleep,
Dream of masts and cabins and the wonders of the deep.
The women-folk of Harbury have eyes like the sea,
Wide with watching wonder, deep with mystery.
I met a woman: "Beyond the bar," she said,
"Beyond the shallow water where the green lines spread,
"Out beyond the sand-bar and the white spray,
My three sons wait for the Judgment Day."
I saw an old man who goes to sea no more,
Watch from morn till evening down on the shore.
"The sea's a hard mistress," the old man said;
"The sea is always hungry and never full fed.
"The sea had my father and took my son from me —
Sometimes I think I see them, walking on the sea!
"I'd like to be in Harbury on the Judgment Day,
When the word is spoken and the sea is wiped away,
"And all the drowned fisher boys, with sea-weed in their hair,
Rise and walk to Harbury to greet the women there.
"I'd like to be in Harbury to see the souls arise,
Son and mother hand in hand, lovers with glad eyes.
"I think there would be many who would turn and look with me,
Hoping for another glimpse of the cruel sea!
"They tell me that in Paradise the fields are green and still,
With pleasant flowers everywhere that all may take who will,
"And four great rivers flowing from out the Throne of God
That no one ever drowns in and souls may cross dry-shod.
"I think among those wonders there will be men like me,
Who miss the old salt danger of the singing sea.
"For in my heart, like some old shell, inland, safe and dry,
Any one who harks will still hear the sea cry."
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