Run out the boat, my broken comrades;
Let the old seaweed crack, the surge
Burgeon oblivious of the last
Embarkation of feckless men,
Let every adverse force converge —
Here we must needs embark again.
Run up the sail, my heartsick comrades;
Let each horizon tilt and lurch —
You know the worst: your wills are fickle,
Your values blurred, your hearts impure
And your past life a ruined church —
But let your poison be your cure.
Put out to sea, ignoble comrades,
Whose record shall be noble yet;
Butting through scarps of moving marble
The narwhal dares us to be free;
By a high star our course is set,
Our end is Life. Put out to sea.
“Thalassa” was found in Louis MacNeice’s papers after his death in 1963.
The date of its composition is unknown.