A Racing Eight

A poem by James Lister Cuthbertson

Who knows it not, who loves it not,
The long and steady swing,
The instant dip, the iron grip,
The rowlocks’ linked ring,
The arrowy sway of hands away,
The slider oiling aft,
The forward sweep, the backward leap
That speed the flying craft?

A racing eight of perfect mould,
True to the builder’s law,
That takes the water’s gleaming gold
Without a single flaw.
A ship deep, resonant within,
Harmonious to the core,
That vibrates to her polished skin
The tune of wave and oar.

A racing eight and no man late,
And all hearts in the boat;
The men who work and never shirk,
Who long to be afloat.
The crew who burn from stem to stern
To win the foremost place,
The crew to row, the boat to go
The eight to win the race.

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