The Pathfinder

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The Pathfinder
written by John Masefield
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She lies at grace, at anchor, head to tide,
The wind blows by in vain: she lets it be.
Gurgles of water run along her side,
She does not heed them: they are not the sea.
She is at peace from all her wandering now,
Quiet is in the bones of her;
The glad thrust of the leaning of her bow
Blows bubbles from the ebb but docs not stir.

Rust stains her side, her sails are furled, the smoke
Streams from her galley funnel and is gone;
A gull is settled on her skysail truck.
Some dingy seamen, by her deckhouse, joke;
The river loiters by her with its muck,
And takes her image as a benison.

* * * * *

How shall a man describe this resting ship,
Her heavenly power of lying dowm at grace,
This quiet bird by wliom the bubbles slip,
This iron home where prisoned seamen pace?
Three slenderest pinnacles, three sloping spires,
Climbing the sky, supported but by strings
Which whine in the sea wind from all their wires,
Yet stand the strain however hard it dings.
Then, underneath, the long lean fiery sweep
Of a proud huli exulting in her sheer,
That rushes like a diver to the leap,
And is all beauty without spot or peer.
Built on the Clyde, by men, of strips of steel
That once was ore trod by the asses' heel.

A Clyde-bui1t ship of fifteen hundred tons,
Black-sided, with a tier of painted ports,
Red lead just showing where the water runs,
Her bow a leaping grace where beauty sports.
Keen as a hawk above the water line
Though full below it: an elliptic stern:
Her attitude a racer's, stnpped and fine,
Tense to be rushing under spires that yearn.
She crones a main skysail: her jibboom
Is one steel spike: het mainsail has a spread
Of eighty-seven feet, earring to earring.
Her wind is a fresh gale, het joy careering
Some two points free before it, nought ahead
But sea, and the gale roaring, and blown spume.


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