Building a Ship of Wisdom,
in Which One’s Soul May Sail
John Masefield
Man with his burning soul
Has but an hour of breath
To build a ship of Truth
In which his soul may sail,
Sail on the sea of death.
For death takes toll
Of beauty, courage, youth,
Of all but Truth.
Life’s city ways are dark,
Men mutter by; the wells
Of the great waters moan.
O death, O sea, O tide,
The waters moan like bells.
No light, no mark,
The soul goes out alone
On seas unknown.
Stripped of all purple robes,
Stripped of all golden lies,
I will not be afraid.
Truth will preserve through death;
Perhaps the stars will rise,
The stars like globes.
The ship my striving made
May see night fade.
The above poem is reproduced from the book “The Story of a Round-House and Other Poems”, by John Masefield, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1912, 325 pp., pp. 219-220.