Old Anchors

By George Sterling

They have served their part. For them the storms are done,
    And the long ships lie sunken or ashore.
Shackle and shaft lie pitted in the sun,
    Here, on the junk-yard floor.

Here the worn flukes, now red with flaking rust,
    Take hold no longer on the harbor-bed.
The stale wind weaves a coverlet of dust,
    To tell what days are dead.

No more the driving brine shall wrench the stocks
    That now are given to the gentler rains;
And long-forgotten are the ocean-shocks
    That tried the stubborn chains.

When, heedful of the hidden rocks and spits.
    The ironmasters' faith was justified,
Till, to the groaning of the windlass-bitts,
    The tempest broke and died.

Peace—peace! They have outworn the ancient needs,
    And wait new anvils of the time to be.
Change is upon our ventures and our deeds!
    No change is on the sea.

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