The Anathemata

Keel, Ram, Stauros (continued)

Ship’s master:

before him, in the waist and before it

the darling men.

Cheerily, cheerilya 

with land to leeward

known-land, known-shore, home-shore


Cheerly, cheerly men ,

’gin to work the ropes.

And she bears up for it

riding her turning shadow.

The incurving aphlastonb  lanterns high above him

behind him

the plank-built walls converge

to apse his leaning nave.

To his left elbow

the helmsman

is quite immobile now

by whose stanced feet

coiled on the drying hemp-coil

with one eye open.

the still ship’s cat

tillers, just perceptibly

her tip of tail.

He inclines himself out-board

and to her-ward.1 

David Jones notes

1 i.e. toward the figure of Athene above the harbour to starboard. See p. 96 above.

additional notes

a Cf. Sea shanty Nancy Dawson (in a polite version)

O Nancy Dawson, Hio!
Cheer’ly man;
She’s got a notion Hio-o!

Cheer’ly man;
For our old bo’sun, Hio!
Cheer’ly man, O!
Hauley, Hio-o!
Cheer’ly man.

b aphlaston: the upward-curving decorated poop on the aft superstructure, rather like an apse or rounded projection. (nave = ship, though the nave of a church is also suggested).


Finally, we pass on to the ship’s master, about to end his passage home.

semantic structures