The Coast Guard
by Emily Huntington Miller
From a 1901 CYR Reader Book Six Published by Ginn and Company
Note: This poem has been bouncing around the internet for awhile. I received it today from J.C. Carney who received it from others and so I decided to reformat it and post it for all to read. The name Coast Guard didn't officially come into being until 1914.
Do you ask me what I am seeing
While I watch the embers glow,
And list to the wild wind howling
As it drives the winter snow?
I see, away to the eastward,
The line of a storm-beat coast,
And I hear the tread of the hurrying waves,
Like the tramp of a mailed host.
And up and down in the darkness,
and over the frozen sand,
I hear the men of the Coast Guard
Pacing along the strand,
Beaten by storm and tempest
And drenched by the pelting rain,
From the shores of Carolina
To the windswept bays of Maine.
No matter what storms are raging,
No matter how wild the night,
The gleam of their swinging lanterns
shines out with a friendly light.
And many a shipwrecked sailor
Thanks God with his gasping breath
For the sturdy arms of the surfmen
That drew him away from death.
And so, when the wind is wailing
And the air grows dim with sleet,
I think of the fearless watchers
Pacing along their beat.
I think of a wreck, fast breaking
In the surf a of a rocky shore,
And the lifeboat leaping onward
To the stroke of the bending oar.
I hear the shouts of the sailors,
The boom of the frozen sail,
And the crack of the icy halyards
Straining against the gale.
"Courage !" the captain trumpets,
"They are sending help from land !"
God bless the men of the Coast Guard
And hold their lives in His hand.