Richard Rowe

Here you will find the Poem Soul Ferry of poet Richard Rowe

Soul Ferry

High and dry upon the shingle lies the fisher's boat to-night; 
From his roof-beam dankly drooping, raying phosphorescent light, 
Spectral in its pale-blue splendour, hangs his heap of scaly nets, 
And the fisher, lapt in slumber, surge and seine alike forgets. 

Hark! there comes a sudden knocking, and the fisher starts from sleep, 
As a hollow voice and ghostly bids him once more seek the deep; 
Wearily across his shoulder flingeth he the ashen oar, 
And upon the beach descending finds a skiff beside the shore. 

'Tis not his, but he must enter -- rocking on the waters dim, 
Awful in their hidden presence, who are they that wait for him? 
Who are they that sit so silent, as he pulleth from the land -- 
Nothing heard save rumbling rowlock, wave soft-breaking on the sand? 

Chill adown the tossing channel blows the wailing, wand'ring breeze, 
Lonely in the murky midnight, mutt'ring mournful memories, -- 
Summer lands where once it brooded, wrecks that widows' hearts have wrung -- 
Swift the dreary boat flies onwards, spray, like rain, around it flung. 

On a pebbled strand it grateth, ghastly cliffs around it loom, 
Thin and melancholy voices faintly murmur through the gloom; 
Voices only, lipless voices, and the fisherman turns pale, 
As the mother greets her children, sisters landing brothers hail. 

Lightened of its unseen burden, cork-like rides the rocking bark, 
Fast the fisherman flies homewards o'er the billows deep and dark; 
THAT boat needs no mortal's mooring -- sad at heart he seeks his bed, 
For his life henceforth is clouded -- he hath piloted the Dead!