All through the high white
While the lagging tide crawled out,
Fate held us bound and waiting,
While, turn and turn about,
We manned the fuming cannon
And bartered hell for hell,
While the scuppers sang with coursing life
Where the dead and dying fell.
Till, like the break of fever
When life thrills up through pain,
We felt the current stirring
Under the keel again.
Then it was hand to cutlass,
And pistols in the sash.
“All hands stand by for boarding,—
Now, close abeam and lash!”
But the ensign that had mocked
With its symbol of the dead
Fluttered and dropped to the bloody deck,
And a white square spoke instead.
Home from the kill we thundered
On the tail of the equinox,
To the thrum of straining canvas,
And the whine and groan of blocks.
Leaping clear of the shallows,
Chancing the creaming bars,
We heard the first faint cheering
As the late sun limned our spars.
Safe in the lee of the city
We moored in the afterglow,
The Sea Nymph and the Henry
With the buccaneers in tow.
Glad we had been in the going,
But God! it was good to come
Out of the sky-wide loneliness
To the walls and lights of home.
Under these shouldering rows
That notch the quiet sky;
Under the asphalt’s transient seal
The same old mud-flats lie;
And I have felt them surge and lift
At night as I passed by.
Yes, I have seen them sprawling
While an Autumn moon hung chill,
And the tide came shuddering in from sea,
Lift by lift, until
It held them under a silver mesh,
Responsive to its will.
Then slowly out from the crowding
I have seen the gibbets grow,
And stand against the empty sky
In a desolate, windblown row,
While their dancers swayed, and turned, and spun,
Tripping it heel and toe;
With a flash of gold where
the peering moon
Saw an earring as it swung,
And a silver line that leapt and died
Where the salt-white sea-boots hung,
And the pitiful, nodding, silent heads,
With half of their songs unsung.
 See the note on the pirates.
"And these squaws,
waiting in vain the return of their husbands,
sought out braves among the other tribes, and so men say the Sewees
have become Wandos."
“One flask of rum for
fifty muskrat skins!
A horn of powder for a bear’s is not enough;
A whole winter’s hunting for some blanket stuff—
Ugh!” said the Sewee Chief,
“The pale-face is a thief!”