Ofttimes a lonely sailor in a lonely alien port
May seek comfort but not honour by his side.
Ofttimes too-foolish virgins, with young hearts too tender-kind
May suppose no sailor has a wife or child.
Ofttimes through blinding sorrow, lonely girls watch on the shore
As a sail grows fortune-small and disappears.
Ofttimes they clutch their stomachs, as they turn and walk away,
Feeling barren, fearing barren, lonely years.
Ofttimes in toxic horror they might swear to scarry hearts
That no honour ever dwelt in sailor's breast.
But a seaman has a home, and a man's heart's not his own,
And each mainsail knows a wind that blows from West.
You must not, for all that, no more trust sailors;
For the man who's not a sailor's not a man.
Just look for one with no home to go home to,
Walking inland, something wooden in his hand.
And if he asks you what it is he carries,
You must swear a maiden oath you do not know.
And if he asks you what it is he buries,
If it's an oar, you must not tell him so.
-- Stephen K. Roney