Back to Index


by Carl Sandburg, 1916

Strolling along
 By the teeming docks,
 I watch the ships put out.
 Black ships that heave and lunge
 And move like mastodons
 Arising from lethargic sleep.

 The fathomed harbor
 Calls them not nor dares
 Them to a strain of action,
 But outward, on and outward,
 Sounding low-reverberating calls,
 Shaggy in the half-lit distance,
 They pass the pointed headland,
 View the wide, far-lifting wilderness
 And leap with cumulative speed
 To test the challenge of the sea.

 Doggedly onward plunging,
 Into salt and mist and foam and sun.

Published in Chicago Poems

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.