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My Ships

From the Grand Forks Daily Herald, March 13, 1915. By Jack Carter.

I am sitting alone in the gloaming
With the firelight flickering low,
And the sky so dark and lowering
Is tinged by the sun’s red glow,
And the many ships that I freighted,
With hopes too bright to last
How they haunt me, haunt me, haunt me,
Those wrecks of the lone dead past.

There’s the ship that I launched at twenty—
It was laden with thoughts sublime.
I would plan out the lives of nations,
When my life reached its summer time.
I would see that all strife and warfare,
And oppressions be swept from the deck.
Alas, for the dreary eventide,
My ship came home a wreck.

Then I sent out another vessel,
And the cargo it carried was love.
There was home and a wife and children,
And the bliss was from heaven above.
But the joys could not last forever
And the storm clouds rose on her lea.
She ran on the rocks, they crushed her,
And she sank down into the sea.

Once more I sent out a vessel,
It was trim from stem to stern.
It went for to bring me riches,
And with orders to never return
Till ’twas full of all precious substance,
And its wake left a golden track.
A crash, and t’was gone forever.
Not even a plank came back.

But there’s one came back from the shadows
Out of all my ships just one—
Shall I tell you the cargo it brought me?
It was only the deeds I had done
For the troubled, the suffering, the outcast;
I’d forgotten them all long ago.
The whisper from lips just passing,
And the sad, sad tale of woe.

A life to the one who had fallen,
A striving to ease the pain.
Just bread cast out on the waters,
And it all came back again.
And you never can buy this vessel.
The wealth of the whole wide world
Cannot pilot it out of the harbor
For its sails and its flag are furled.

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