Rudyard Kipling

              The Storm Cone

                   This is the midnight — let no star 
                   Delude us — dawn is very far.
                   This is the tempest long foretold —
                   Slow to make head but sure to hold 
                   Stand by! The lull 'twixt blast and blast 
                   Signals the storm is near, not past;
                   And worse than present jeopardy 
                   May our forlorn to-morrow be.
                   If we have cleared the expectant reef, 
                   Let no man look for his relief.
                   Only the darkness hides the shape 
                   Of further peril to escape.
                   It is decreed that we abide
                   The weight of gale against the tide 
                   And those huge waves the outer main 
                   Sends in to set us back again.
                   They fall and whelm. We strain to hear 
                   The pulses of her labouring gear,
                   Till the deep throb beneath us proves, 
                   After each shudder and check, she moves! 
                   She moves, with all save purpose lost,
                   To make her offing from the coast; 
                   But, till she fetches open sea,
                   Let no man deem that he is free!


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