When the dusky veil of night is drawn

When clouds unfold and flee,

When song birds wake, and a saffron dawn

Steals over a silver sea.

Then the bark that she loves is spreading its wings

To speed on its way again,

And she hears the son that her sailor sings

As she hauls on the anchor chain.

Alone she stands on the sunlit sands

And watches the rising sail,

And a clear call floats to the speeding boats

As she echoes his parting hail.

With anxious eyes she scans the skies

As the boats glide on and on –

Till over the brink of the ocean they sink

And the bark that she loves is gone.

And standing there, a little prayer

Flies after them over the foam,

And she turns away to toil that day

Must bring her to cottage home.

And the wavelets fall on the old sea wall

And beat on the cold grey stones,

Singing the song they have sung so long

In their musical monotones.

And now and again a low sweet strain

Floats up to the cliffs above,

For the eyes are bright and the heart is light

When we work for the one we love.

There’s a glow in the West, and it tells that res

From the toils of the day is nigh,

And the great sun flings forth its golden wings

Ere bidding the world good-bye.

Down the golden ways of the sun’s last rays

He comes to her over the foam,

And hand clasps hand on the dark’ning strand

When the bark that she loves comes home.


French, Percy. (1980) ‘Prose, Poems & Parodies.’  Dublin, Helicon Limited