"On a Western Beach"

By George Sterling

Far out, hulls down, the ships go by;
    North, south, they pass, by night or day;
There, where the ocean meets the sky,
    The canvas gleams, the tall masts sway.

Intrepid, whose adventure finds
    No lasting peace for sail or prow—
Unto what oceans and what winds,
     O stranger ship, advancest thou ?

The tempest and the night descend
    In which no truthful star may warn;
There waits no beacon to befriend
    Where southward looms the bitter Horn.

But will is at the guarded wheel —
    Decision at the managed sail,
To hurl the javelin of thy keel
    Against the billow and the gale.

The tides and winds on that design
    Converge, indifferent at best;
The fog's invasion blots the sign,
    Slow sinking in the midnight west.

Thou sailest by another Star—
    A solemn and unsetting Fire—
That sun of purpose, high and far,
    To which intrepid hearts aspire-

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