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For Balustrade Lanyard: O Lanyard! My Lanyard!


O Lanyard! My Lanyard! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:


But O heart! heart! heart!

      O the bleeding drops of red,

          Where on the balustrade my lanyard lies,

               Fallen cold and dead.

O Lanyard! My Lanyard! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up — for you the flag is flung — for you the bugle trills;

For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths — for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;


      Here lanyard! dear father!

          This arm beneath your head;

               It is some dream that on the balustrade,

                    You've fallen cold and dead.


My lanyard does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;


     Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

          But I, with mournful tread,

              Walk the balustrade my lanyard lies,

                   Fallen cold and dead.





With sincere apologies to Walt Whitman, and poetry in general

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms. He is Director of Editorial at 89up and has written and ghostwritten for The Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Observer, The Irish Times, The Daily Telegraph, The New Statesman, The Sun, and The Irish Post.

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