The Wet Litany

Their Lawful Occasions. Traffics and Discoveries.

WHEN the waters’ countenance
Blurs ‘twixt glance and second glance;
When our tattered smokes forerun
Ashen ’neath a silvered sun;
When the curtain of the haze
Shuts upon our helpless ways—
Hear the Channel Fleet at sea:
Libera nos Domine!
When the engines’ bated pulse
Scarcely thrills the nosing hulls;
When the wash along the side
Sounds, a—sudden, magnified;
When the intolerable blast
Marks each blindfold minute passed;
When the fog—buoy’s squattering flight
Guides us 'through the haggard night;
When the warning bugle blows;
When the lettered doorway’s close;
When our brittle townships press,
Impotent, on emptiness;
When the unseen leadsmen lean
Questioning a deep unseen;
When their lessened count they tell
To a bridge invisible;
When the hid and perilous
Cliffs return our cry to us;
When the treble thickness spread
Swallows up our next—ahead;
When her sirens frightened whine
Shows her sheering out of line;
When—her passage undiscerned—
We must turn where she has turned,
Hear the Channel Fleet at sea:
Libera nos Domine!
Autres oeuvres par Rudyard Kipling...