This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 08, 2005

I Saw Three Ships

Three Ships, Otto Henry Bacher, 1880

I saw three ships that sailed away
   Beneath a leaden sky,
Their helms hard set for far Cathay,
   Their decks I could descry;

Upon the prow of every ship
   Was carved a maiden fair,
Beclothed in but a wispy slip
   With flowing flaxen hair.

And in the rigging of each mast
   There clambered jolly crew
Who filled the yards, full sail at last,
   And trimmed each tack and clew.

The ships rode high upon the foam
   As proud they slipped the quay
And eased the ebb away from home
   For lands of mystery.

The rising moon full round and bright
   As beaten silver gleams,
While night by night in faerie light
   These ships sail through my dreams.

Far off spy I for vessels three —
   Might they appear one day?
But mostly I gaze out to sea
   And long to sail away.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


Jeff, I really love this poem. The first line of the last stanza presents a wonderful mystery as to the reference to "three." I'm not sure how I "feel" that yet, but it has the resonance to make me think in ways I wouldn't about the number three otherwise. With all the symbolism and history that is associated with that number you have found a context and phrasing that allows for a narrative of my own to enter the experience. I will have more to say on this a little later. I love the story. It's almost Peter Pan like. Beautiful images and words.

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