Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!'”
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”
The stout Mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:
“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck
And peered through darkness. Ah! that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck–
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It, grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
It’s grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”
NOTE: History, Scripture, Literature gives us testimonies of giants of heroism who walked this earth. Today we still have those who are shinning examples of endurance and great character. Some may be in the public eye, but many live a quiet and courageous life. I have had the personal privilege of knowing some of these individuals. They, as this poem does, inspire and challenge me in my own personal walk. REMEMBER….darkness is always followed by the dawn, rain ends with a rainbow, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
“Sail on!, Sail on!, Sail on! and on!”