At Ship's Helm

(1996)

"At Ship's Helm" is the second song of Michael Tilson Thomas song group Whitman Songs.

At Ship's Helm
by Walt Whitman


Aboard, at ship's helm,
A young steersman, steering with care.


A bell through fog on a sea-beach dolefully ringing,
An ocean-bell -- O a warning bell, rock'd by the waves.


O you give good counsel indeed, you bell by the sea-coast ringing,
Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place.


For, as on the alert, O seaman, you mind the loud admonition,
The bows turn, -- the freighted ship, tacking, speeds away under her gray sails,
The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious wealth, speeds away gaily and safe.


But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship!
O ship of the body -- ship of the soul -- voyaging, voyaging, voyaging.


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