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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Ship and the Boat

In the great ship Life we speed along,
   With sails and pennons spread.
And tethered, beside the great ship, glide
   The mystic boats for the dead.

Over the deck of the ship of Life
   Our loved and lost we lower.
And calm and steady, his small boat ready,
   Death silently sits at the oar.

He rows our dead away from our sight--
   Away from our hearing or ken.
We call and cry for a last good-bye,
   But they never come back again.

The ship of Life bounds on and on;
   The river of Time runs fast;
And yet more swift our dear dead drift
   For ever back into the Past.

We do not forget those loved and lost,
   But they fade away like a dream:
As we hurry along on the current strong
   Of Times great turbulent stream.

On and on, and ever away,
   Our sails are filled by the wind;
We see new places, we meet new faces,
   And the dead are far behind.

Their boats have drifted into the sea
   That laves Gods holy feet.
But the rivers course, too, seeks that source,
   So the ship and the boat shall meet.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Forty-Eight
  3. Artist and Man
  4. As by Fire
  5. But a Dream

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