Down by the clanging dockyards,
Among the islands green,
I saw a ship come in to berth
As stately as a queen,
Her flags all still,
Her smoke going up between.

And where the panting tugboats
Went bustling to and fro,
I thought of all the ships that passed
A hundred years ago;
Iron ships, smoke ships
Are the only ships I know.

Many are the cargoes
They bear beyond the sea;
Here ships load rubber, tin
Whose lading used to be
Cinnamon, cloves,
And boxed China tea.

The Ship rode to her mooring
As royally as a queen;
But once upon a time there sailed
Through these islands green
A high ship, cloud ship
As I have never seen,

Those who have seen her
Never will forget;
Through old men’s memories
She is voyaging yet,
To the frail air
Her star-high skysails set.

Down by the clanging dockyards
Where the crying seabirds go,
I thought of all the ships that passed
A hundred years ago:
The star-high ships
That I shall never know

By Cecile Parrish
Used in this publication with the gracious permission of the Estate of Renee Parrish