THE NEW YEAR SHIP

Across wide seas of space, from God's own bay,
Straight to the shores of earth it ploughed its way,
And came, full rigged, to anchor in the night.
Its sails lie clean against the morning light;
And on the bridge old Captain Time is standing,
Proud of the brave new craft he is commanding.

My heart runs dockward, crying, 'Ship ahoy!
What cargo do you carry--pain or joy?
Before the crew of Days shall come ashore,
Bearing each one his portion of your store--
Tell me what things are hidden in your hold?'

There is no answer. Yet I do make bold
To prophesy some things Time keeps for me
In that great New Year ship.

                                        First there will be
Keen Winter mornings, when the sun and frost
Wage bloodless battle, with their daggers crossed.
The wind will act as second for the sun,
While trees stand steadfast for the other one.
Ah! such rare sport!

                                        There will be Spring's return,
When in old hearts young blood again will burn,
And young buds deck old trees; while in the skies
Vast dawns and sunsets startle and surprise
A waking world to wonder.

                                        There will come
Roses so beauteous they strike one dumb;
(A perfect rose is beauty's final word!)
While in their scent old memories are stirred
Of other scenes and times.

                                        Then Autumn's brush
Shall paint the earth before the final hush
That means a dying year. Ah! Captain Time,
You cannot cheat me of these gifts sublime,
(And countless others that I have not told).
Whatever else you bring me--or withhold.

Poems of Problems. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
London : Gay and Hancock, 1914.


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