The Northward




The Northward

Written by Cecil Day Lewis for
the Yacht "Northward"
Built by McGruer Brothers in 1930

Under a hillside by sunny Gareloch,
Scaring the cormorant off his wave perch, floated
Forth on the Springtime into my element.
I, the yacht Northward.

Seven brothers built my body of Oak and Elm,
Woke in the dumb wood a spirit of seafaring,
Hoisted the spruce tree to command a new world
Silent of bird voice.

None is so beautiful, whether undaunted,
Flaunt I my colours close to the wild windís eye,
Or cleaving calm seas, gold on my spinnaker,
Dream down the evening.

Men say, who sight me naked on the pure sky,
Surely such craft once carried in his flame-spur
Pall, a dead Viking past the horizon
Into Valhalla.

Landsí End to Lewis I know, but I love best
My Western Islands where the rain purrs on
Blue profound anchorage, where the moon climbs
Over the Coolins.

When you are done with me, let met still be happy,
Wrap my ribs deep in tides Hebridean;
And for a riding light, clear above me,
Set the Aurora.