Wild Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

IN THE OFFING

FOR R.H.


 

I walked upon the headland
With my friend one summer day,
When an unknown foreign schooner
Came stealing up the bay.

Her sails were light as moonshine

5

Her hull was dark as night,
And silence fell between us
For wonder at the sight.

No name upon her quarter,
No flag at peak nor fore,

10

To tell her port or errand,—
No friendly look she wore.

All day she tacked before us
Or lay to on the tide,
As if awaiting orders

15

From one who should decide.

Never a ship’s bell sounded,
Never a voice rang out,
As she heeled before the wind-flaws
Or stood up to come about.

20


"Why, it is passing strange," I said,
"Aye, passing strange," said he;
And I could see that in his face
I did not like to see.

She did not come to anchor

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Nor cross the restless bar,
But when the harbor twilight
Flashed out its evening star,

Without a hail at parting
Or any colors shown,

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My friend had gone aboard her—
For the Isles of the Unknown.