Vale Old Sailor

Year: 1976

by Gwen Belson-Taylor   


The old sailor leaves the port
Quietly, out of pain.
His hand is strong upon the helm
And dawning breaks again.
And out on the sweet waters
Where ride the silent ships
The salt spray washes clear his eyes
And stars are on his lips.

The cold winters lined his browThe old sailor's hands were gnarled;
He chafed, with footsteps slow.
'I who have lived too long,' he said,
'Am ready now to go.'

And mournful vespers sung;
But young life ever warmed his days
Because his heart was young.

The old sailor gave his hand
To young and faltering hands.
Their eyes, their lips, he taught to see
And sing of smiling lands;

But wryly smiled away the pleas
Of fond inquirers kind;
'Why write my life? I only had
Adventures of the mind.'

But the old sailor’s step is firm
Now age is left behind
On a sudden vibrant journey
Behind a silent prow
Where the very stillness is a song
Upon the shining prow-

And the light that outshines starlight
Is white upon the sea,
Encompassing One waiting
Who walked in Galilee.

                                Gwen Belson-Taylor (1976)