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Poem by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Guards Came Through (1919). 9. The Night Patrol

    September 1918

Behind me on the darkened pier
	They crowd and chatter, man and maid,
A coon-song gently strikes the ear,
	A flapper giggles in the shade.
There where the in-turned lantern gleams
	It shines on khaki and on brass;
Across its yellow slanting beams
	The arm-locked lovers slowly pass.

Out in the darkness one far light
	Throbs like a pulse, and fades away
Some signal on the guarded Wight,
	From Helen's Point to Bembridge Bay.
An eastern wind blows chill and raw,
	Cheerless and black the waters lie,
And as I gaze athwart the haze,
	I see the night patrol go by.

Creeping shadows blur the gloom,
	Thicken and darken, pass and fade;
Again and yet again they loom,
	One ruby spark above each shade
Twelve ships in all! They glide so near,
	One hears the wave the fore-foot curled,
And yet to those upon the pier
	They seem some other sterner world.

The coon-song whimpers to a wail,
	The treble laughter sinks and dies,
The lovers cluster on the rail,
	With whispered words and straining eyes.
One hush of awe, and then once more
	The vision fades for them and me,
And there is laughter on the shore,
	And silent duty on the sea. 

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle's other poems:
  1. Songs of the Road (1911). 8. The Outcasts
  2. Songs of the Road (1911). 17. Man's Limitation
  3. Songs of the Road (1911). 4. A Post-Impressionist
  4. Songs of the Road (1911). 27. Sexagenarius Loquitur
  5. The Guards Came Through (1919). 2. Victrix

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