Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
 
The Tankers
 
Gordon Malherbe Hillman
 
 
TO Bombay and Capetown, and ports of a hundred lands,
To Mombassa, Panama, and Aden on the sands,
Red with rust and green with mould, caked with sodden brine,
The reeling, rolling tankers sail Southward from the Tyne.
 
Southward past the Cornish cliffs, cleft red against the clouds,        5
They snort and stagger onward with sailors in their shrouds
To the spell of rolling seas and the blue of a windy sky
While the smoke lies brown to leeward or the liners scurry by.
 
Thrashing through a tearing gale with a dark green sea ahead,
While the funnel clews sing madly against a sky of red,        10
Foam choked and wave choked, scarred by battered gear,
The long brown decks are whirling seas where silver combers rear.
 
Swinging down a brilliant gulf with shores of brown and gray
The snub-nosed, well-decked tankers slowly steam their way
Up the straits to the Pirate Coast and dim harbors of the South        15
Where they lie like long red patches by a jungle river’s mouth.

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