Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
75. Homeward Bound
 
By D. H. Rogers
 
 
THEY will take us from the moorings, they will tow us down the Bay,
  They will pluck us up to windward when we sail.
We shall hear the keen wind whistle, we shall feel the sting of spray,
  When we’ve dropped the deep-sea pilot o’er the rail.
Then it’s Johnnie heave an’ start her, then it’s Johnnie roll and go;        5
  When the mates have picked the watches, there is little rest for Jack.
But we’ll raise the good old chanty that the Homeward bounders know,
  For the girls have got the tow-rope, an’ they’re hauling in the slack.
 
In the dusty streets and dismal, through the noises of the town,
  We can hear the West wind humming through the shrouds;        10
We can see the lightning leaping when the tropic suns go down,
  And the dapple of the shadows of the clouds.
And the salt blood dances in us, to the tune of Homeward Bound,
  To the call to weary watches, to the sheet and to the tack.
When they bid us man the capstan how the hands will walk her round!—        15
  For the girls have got the tow-rope, an’ they’re hauling in the slack.
 
Through the sunshine of the tropics, round the bleak and dreary Horn,
  Half across the little planet lies our way.
We shall leave the land behind us like a welcome that’s outworn
  When we see the reeling mastheads swing and sway.        20
Through the weather fair or stormy, in the calm and in the gale,
  We shall heave and haul to help her, we shall hold her on her track,
And you’ll hear the chorus rolling when the hands are making sail,
  For the girls have got the tow-rope, an’ they’re hauling in the slack!
 

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