The Voyage (Oct. 1970)
When we are launched at birth, like little boats,
Upon life’s ocean, we are safe within
The harbour walls of home, and learn the skills
Of seamanship in sheltered waters; but
Anon and willy-nilly we must face
The storms and hazards of the open sea.
It is a lonely and a frightening voyage;
The boats so small and frail, the sea so strong;
So little help we get or we can give,
And so inadequate our power, it seems,
To contact those around us.
If we steer
By the fixed stars then we shall keep on course,
But if, driven by storms, the stars obscured,
We drift with wind and current, we are lost.
We see the older boats beside us dip
Lower and lower, battling with the waves
Until, despite our arms outstretched to help,
They sink to rest upon the ocean bed.
And what the purpose of our voyage may be
We do not know, although we feel a sense
Of purpose in our lives, even at times
A unity with sea and sky and stars.
But this we know – and this our guarantee
Of every individual’s worth – we know
Though countless millions sailed before our birth
And millions more will sail after we die,
Yet each one and each journey is unique.
Meg Rugg-Easey Oct. 1970