The Bidding of the Harbor God

Listen to Sherod Santos reading this poem

Take your thwarts, oarsmen, it’s time to carve
New sea-lanes through the breasting swells.
Wild gales no longer avalanche the shoals
Or harrow the rigging of a sailor’s nerve,

And already out of mud and clay, swallows
Daub their jug-nests underneath our eaves.
So quickly now, before the gulled moon leaves
Its slumberous light-weight in the meadows,

Break loose your trim ship’s hawsers, haul
The anchor from its harbor nest, and stand
Up into the trade winds off the headland
Your woven, patched, and thrice-stitched sails.

(First century B.C. Translated from the Greek by Sherod Santos.)