The Phantom Vessel

A poem by Morris Rosenfeld

Now the last, long rays of sunset
To the tree-tops are ascending,
And the ash-gray evening shadows
Weave themselves around the earth.

On the crest of yonder mountain,
Now are seen from out the distance
Slowly fading crimson traces;
Footprints of the dying day.

Blood-stained banners, torn and tattered,
Hanging in the western corner,
Dip their parched and burning edges
In the cooling ocean wave.

Smoothly roll the crystal wavelets
Through the dusky veils of twilight,
That are trembling down from heaven
O'er the bosom of the sea.

Soft a little wind is blowing
O'er the gently rippling waters--
What they whisper, what they murmur,
Who is wise enough to say?

Broad her snow-white sails outspreading
'Gainst the quiet sky of evening,
Flies a ship without a sailor,
Flies--and whither, who can tell?

As by magic moves the rudder;
Borne upon her snowy pinions
Flies the ship--as tho' a spirit
Drove her onward at its will!

Empty is she, and deserted,
Only close beside the mainmast
Stands a lonely child, heartbroken,
Sobbing loud and bitterly.

Long and golden curls are falling
Down his neck and o'er his shoulders;
Now he glances backward sighing,
And the silent ship flies on!

With a little, shining kerchief,
Fluttering upon the breezes,
Unto me he sends a greeting,
From afar he waves farewell.

And my heart is throbbing wildly,
I am weeping--tell me wherefore?
God! that lovely child, I know him!
'Tis my youth that flies from me!

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