Two Hundred Years After Cook

Poem By David Lewis Paget

Would Cook, I wonder, ever have dreamt
Of seventeen eighty-eight,
Of convict ships and dismal cargoes
Rushing onward to their fate?
As he sailed the eastern waters
Did he see the prison yards,
Were the gallows, gaunt and tall
Surrounded by the spectral guards?
Did he hear the groans and cries,
The cat ‘o nine, its evil hiss…
Could he possibly have known
Discovery would come to this?

April 1970

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