The Master Mariner

By George Sterling

My grandsire sailed three years from home,
And slew unmoved the sounding whale:
Here on the windless beach I roam
And watch far out the hardy sail.

The lions of the surf that cry
Upon this lion-colored shore
On reefs of midnight met his eye:
He knew their fangs as I their roar

My grandsire sailed uncharted seas,
And toll of all their leagues he took:
I scan the shallows bays at ease,
And tell their colors in a book.

The anchor-chains his music made
And wind in shrouds and running-gear:
The thrush at dawn beguiles my glade,
And once, 'tis said, I woke to hear.

My grandsire in his ample fist
The long harpoon upheld to men:
Behold obedient to my wrist
A grey gull's-feather for my pen!

Upon my grandsire's leathern cheek
Five zones their bitter bronze had set:
Some days their hazards I will seek,
I promise me at times. Not Yet.

I think my grandsire now would turn
A mild by speculative eye
On me, my pen and its concern,
Then gaze again to sea — and sigh.

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