There’s a grayness over the harbor like fear on the face of a woman,
The sob of the waves has a sound akin to a woman’s cry,
And the deeps beyond the bar are moaning with evil presage
Of a storm that will leap from its lair in that dour north-eastern sky.
Slowly the pale mists rise, like ghosts of the sea, in the offing,
Creeping all wan and chilly by headland and sunken reef,
And a wind is wailing and keening like a lost thing ‘mid the islands,
Boding of wreck and tempest, plaining of dolor and grief.
Swiftly the boats come homeward, over the grim bar crowding,
Like birds that flee to their shelter in hurry and affright,
Only the wild grey gulls that love the cloud and the clamor
Will dare to tempt the ways of the ravining sea to-night.
But the ship that sailed at the dawning, manned by the lads who love us
God help and pity her when the storm is loosed on her track!
O women, we pray to-night and keep a vigil of sorrow
For those we speed at the dawning and may never welcome back!