Daddy was a sailor in a far country,
Billowing port to starry port under sail and over sea,
Seeking not so much for freedom as to set his children free--
Free to grow and free to go and free to linger.
Parting is a heartache--ask your Mummy's aching heart--
So is growing, so is knowing, so is daring.
Parting is a heartache--ask your Daddy's aching heart--
So is loving, so is staying, so is caring.
But there is a star at daybreak on a placid wine-dark sea,
Star of morning, star of berthing, of fair weather,
Some old seamen call Mariah, or the gentle Western wind;
Some say Venus, or Our Lady of the Harbour.
And when the bells and fathoms toll,
The seabirds keen and turn,
And there's a fresh mist in the chest of every man;
And all hands as one together
Start to pull the pulley rope,
And men wonder how the flowers grow at home.
And all hands as on slow fire
Start to draw the luffing sail,
And men wonder how the children grow at home.
-- Stephen K. Roney