The Crossing

Monsters merge and welter through the water's mounting
Din. All hands, stand fast! A sailor sprints aloft,
Hangs, swelling spider-like, among invisible nets,
Surveys his slowly undulating snares, and waits.

The wind! The ship's a steed that champs and shies, breaks loose,
And lunges out upon the blizzard-white sea. It heaves
Its neck; it plunges, trampling waves; it cleaves the clouds
And scours the sky; it sweeps up winds beneath its wings.

My spirit like the swaying mast, plays in the stormy sky,
And like the swelling sails ahead, imagination fills,
Till suddenly I too cry out with the madly shouting crew.

With arms outspread I fall upon the plunging boards and feel
It is my breast that gives the ship new burst of speed,
And know, happy and light at last, what is a bird.

by Adam Mickiewicz

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