Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud

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Classic Poetry Aloud gives voice to poetry through podcast recordings of the great poems of the past. Our library of poems is intended as a resource for anyone interested in reading and listening to poetry. For us, it's all about the listening, and how hearing a poem can make it more accessible, as well as heightening its emotional impact. See more at: www.classicpoetryaloud.com


The Old Ships by James Elroy Flecker

March 21st, 2008

Episode 174 of 608 episodes

Flecker read by Classic Poetry Aloud: http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/ Giving voice to the poetry of the past. --------------------------------------------- The Old Ships by James Elroy Flecker (1884 - 1915) I have seen old ships like swans asleep Beyond the village which men call Tyre, With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep For Famagusta and the hidden sun That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire; And all those ships were certainly so old Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun, Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges, The pirate Genoese Hell-raked them till they rolled Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold. But now through friendly seas they softly run, Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green, Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold. But I have seen, Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn And image tumbed on a rose-swept bay, A drowsy ship of some yet older day; And, wonder's breath indrawn, Thought I - who knows - who knows - but in that same (Fished up beyond Ææa, patched up new - Stern painted brighter blue -) That talkative, bald-headed seaman came (Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar) From Troy's doom-crimson shore, And with great lies about his wooden horse Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course. It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows? - And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain To see the mast burst open with a rose, And the whole deck put on its leaves again.