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Mid-ocean in War-time

 (For My Mother)

The fragile splendour of the level sea,
The moon's serene and silver-veiled face,
Make of this vessel an enchanted place
Full of white mirth and golden sorcery.
Now, for a time, shall careless laughter be Blended with song, to lend song sweeter grace, And the old stars, in their unending race, Shall heed and envy young humanity.
And yet to-night, a hundred leagues away, These waters blush a strange and awful red.
Before the moon, a cloud obscenely grey Rises from decks that crash with flying lead.
And these stars smile their immemorial way On waves that shroud a thousand newly dead!

by Joyce Kilmer
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