Ina Coolbrith

1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois


A pearl-foam at his feet
The waters leap and fall;
The sentry treads his beat
Upon the sun-girt wall.

Bronzed of visage, he,
Stern, resolute as fate,
Guard of the inner sea-
Grim Watcher of the Gate.

Born of some mighty throe
From earth's sbysmal deep,
When, aeons, long ago,
The Dragon stirred in sleep.

Yet over him, merrily,
The winds blow East, blow West;
The gulls about him fly,
The fog-king wreaths his crest.

All day, sea-melodies
Blend with oarsmen's stroke,
In the Fleet of the Butterflies,
The craft of the fisher-folk.

Then boom of the sunset gun,
The flash of the beacon-light,
Leaping, a warning sun,
To passing ships of night,

And the fleets of all the world
Salute him as they pass-
Viking of Seas empearled,
The Warrior, Alcatraz.
110 Total read