Posted as Missing
John Masefield, Poems (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1945): 58-59.
1Under all her topsails she trembled like a stag,
2The wind made a ripple in her bonny red flag;
3They cheered her from the shore and they cheered her from the pier,
4And under all her topsails she trembled like a deer.
5So she passed swaying, where the green seas run,
6Her wind-steadied topsails were stately in the sun;
7There was glitter on the water from her red port light,
8So she passed swaying, till she was out of sight.
9Long and long ago it was, a weary time it is,
10The bones of her sailor-men are coral plants by this;
11Coral plants, and shark-weed, and a mermaid's comb,
12And if the fishers net them they never bring them home.
13It's rough on sailors' women. They have to mangle hard,
14And stitch at dungarees till their finger-ends are scarred,
15Thinking of the sailor-men who sang among the crowd,
16Hoisting of her topsails when she sailed so proud.
Publication Start Year:
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1918).
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh