Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“The Skipper”

In Memoriam
The Rev. Jesse Halsey, D.D.

The sea was always in his eyes
As in his blood;
The English earth his heritage,
His sires, the skippers of proud ships
Out of Southampton’s
New World port
Two hundred years agone.

He lov’d the salt-tang’d air,
The restless, rolling water drew him
From a thousand miles,
Like tides upon his heart
Toward home and rest and peace.

His hands were seaman’s hands,
Busy, apt to any task
To build, to smooth,
To climb where few would dare,
To set a gentle flower,
To bind a wound,
To brush aside a tear,
To pray.

Like season’d oak, his heart,
Handwrought and mellowed,
Weathered fitting by the foul and fair;
He knew his craft—the hearts of men
And like his Master,
No stranger he to ax and plane,
Or storm-toss’d day,
The satisfying weariness of eventide;
His art—the ships he built—
The lives he sent out from his ways
Sound wrought and rigged,
To wrest and bring
A hard-won cargo safely home.

His heart a skipper’s Heart,
The Master’s Order, his;
And certain as a chart that fact
To all
Who signed on in his company.

No wonder to his mates,
The Master, satisfied,
Called out, “Cast off!”
And he obeyed.

By Samuel Gregory Warr
Assistant to Dr. Halsey, Seventh Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1940-1941.

No comments: