Ships Passing
On silent midnight sea
under a clear night's waiting sky
the full moon's silver spark reflects
upon a sleeping ocean of black glass.
She is the gleaming flagship of her line
her proud bow's rush will part the sprawling waves
and her determination churns a silent sea
into her sparkling gown of emerald-glistening wake;
she's queen of ships, within a week she'll grace
the shorelines of her famous ports of call.
I've tramped the ocean roads time after time
in scores of dingy ports I've made my call
and lost all count of crews and cargoes in my holds
though now my hull is battered and my pace is slow,
my engines still run on for me to reach a shore
and under peeling paint my rust wears well.
And though you will not know me as we pass this night,
I still remember the Atlantic in a decade past
you, in the convoy’s heart, my sister and my friend
I, by your side, distracting gorging submarines,
your eyes and mine would see the loss of countless ships,
yet peace came one day, you and I'd survived.
And as our paths cross in this place tonight,
I see the white lines of your graceful hull recede
as, never looking, you sail past me toward dawn
I cross your wake remembered like perfume
and as your slowly fading waves caress my hull
I, in my heart, will bid you fond farewell.
Jon Bohrn (1997)



previous | index