THE PHANTOM LINER
by Unknown


The fog lay deep on Georges Bank,
Rolling deep fold on fold;
It dripped and dripped from the rigging dank,
And the day sank dark and cold.
The watch stood close by the reeling rail
And listened into the gloom;

Was there a sound save the slatting sail
And the creak of the swaying boom?
Out of the dark the great waves crept
And shouldered darkly by,
Till over their tops a murmur crept
That was neither of sea nor sky.

"Is it the churn of a steamer's screw?"
"Is it a wind that sighs?"
A shiver ran through the listening crew,
We looked in each other's eyes.
No engines throbbed, no whistle boomed,
No foam curled from her prow,

But out of the mist a liner loomed
Ten fathom from our bow.
Ten fathom from our bow she grew,
No man might speak or stir,
As she leapt from the fog that softly drew
Like a shroud from over her.

We shut our teeth in grim despair,
Then, like one under a spell,
Right through her as she struck us fair
I saw the lift of a swell.
There was never a crash of splintered plank,
No rush of incoming tide,

There was never a tear in the mainsail dank
As her hull went through our side.
Unharmed we drifted down the night,
On into the fog she drave,
And through her as she passed from sight
I saw the light of a wave.

Was it some ship long lost at sea,
Whose wraith still sails the main?
Or the ghost of a wreck that is yet to be
In some wild hurricane?
Was it a warning to fishing boats
Of what the fog may hold,

As over their decks it drips and floats
And swathes in its slinging fold?
I cannot tell, I only know
Our crew of eighteen men
Saw the gray form come, and saw it go
Into the fog again.

1 comment:

The Frog Queen said...

Like these high seas ghost stories!

Cheers!