Sunday, April 27, 2014

Voyage of the Bellus, Part I

Oh glorious day the Bellus sailed -

Took flight with full-spread canvas wings!

Our happy eyes beheld the land

Slip fast behind the sky and sea;

No comet flew, no prophet called,

The sea was shimmering in the light

The day we cast our mooring off

And set our faces toward the night.

A west wind1 took us swiftly out

And drove us thus for many days

And howled 'twixt sail and mast and line

Through wave and mighty, dark-green wave.

Each sailor raised his cider-mug

And climbed into his birth, content

That we should soon have crossed the sea

And reached that place where we were bent.

The captain, too, was in good state

As were the second mate and I,

And had not thought to see the hour

That long-blown western wind would die.

So we, becalmed upon that sea,

Gazed doubtful at the molten glass;

The wind had always blown for us -

This calm spell, then, would quickly pass.

"Oh sun, why mock us with thy rays!

Why, sky, withhold thy rain, thy breeze?"

The bos'n spoke when we had sat

Five weeks unmoved upon that sea.

At this each sailor bowed his head

Or cast his angry face away,

No man would meet me eye for eye

Or speak upon that silent day.

And silence passed from night to night

Until each man would only lift

His face to see the feeble waves

Upon which we were cast adrift.