Take the rope, boy, pull the hawser hard,
The knot must sit firm and tight.
Remember, we sailed by starlit skies
as the sea took us far from cradling coasts,
far from the sheltering bays and beaches
To where no earth scent reaches
The salt-stained sea-spattered air;
And the gulls, oh, the gulls, sailed
High and morose,
In their flight no memory of land.
Pull harder, boy, harder, and show me your strength,
Pull hard on that hawser with all of your might!
We lived on fish so easy to catch,
Of man they knew nothing,
The virgin shimmering tufted blue
The sky a wan, unearthly hue,
And we sailed and we sailed
Till the limp skies paled,
Till the night gathered round
And the world had no sound.
That’s it! Yes! I feel the ship berthing,
Earthing, and my head so light!
We lived the waves’ unruly heave,
The lurching slapping lapping swagger,
We drew lines between the stars
And danced our eyes on dead horizons,
We lived the stunned torpor of water
When the wind slept its sudden sleep.
We lived beyond life for far too long,
And long now for life once more.
So heave to, my boy, I'll jump ashore,
It takes but a moment to snuff the light.