The Ships of Yule

by Bliss Carman

The Ships of Yule

WHEN I was just a little boy,
Before I went to school,
I had a fleet of forty sail
I called the Ships of Yule;
Of every rig, from rakish brig

And gallant barkentine,
To little Fundy fishing boats
With gunwales painted green.
They used to go on trading trips
Around the world for me,

For though I had to stay on shore
My heart was on the sea.
They stopped at every port to call
From Babylon to Rome,
To load with all the lovely things

We never had at home;
With elephants and ivory
Bought from the King of Tyre,
And shells and silk and sandal-wood
That sailor men admire;

With figs and dates from Samarcand,

And squatty ginger-jars,
And scented silver amulets
From Indian bazaars;
With sugar-cane from Port of Spain,

And monkeys from Ceylon,
And paper lanterns from Pekin
With painted dragons on;
With cocoanuts from Zanzibar,
And pines from Singapore;

And when they had unloaded these
They could go back for more.
And even after I was big
And had to go to school,
My mind was often far away

Aboard the Ships of Yule.

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