Poncé De Léon

By a black wharf I stood lately,
  When the night was at its noon;
Keen, malicious stars were shining,
  And a wicked, white-faced moon.

And I saw a stately vessel,
  Built in fashion quaint and old;
From her masthead, in the moonlight,
  Hung a flag of faded gold.

Black with age her masts and spars were,
  Black with age her ropes and rails;
Like a ghost through cere-cloths gazing
  Shone the white moon through her sails.

Not a movement stirred the stillness,
  Not a sound the silence broke,
Save alone the livid water
  Lapping round her sides of oak.

Then to her unseen commander
  Spake I, as to one I knew—
“Don Juan Poncé de Léon,
  I have waited long for you.

“Take me with you, I implore you!
  Take me with you on your quest
For the Fount of Youth Eternal,
  For the Islands of the Blest.”

Then above the bulwarks ancient
  I beheld a head arise;
And the moon with ghastly glimmer
  Lit its sad and hollow eyes.

“Grieved am I, señor, and sorry,”
  Very courteously it said,
“That I may not take you with me—
  But I only take the Dead.

“These alone may dare the voyage,
  These alone sail on the quest
For the Fount of Youth Eternal,
  For the Islands of the Blest.”

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"Poncé De Léon" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Jun 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/37517/poncé-de-léon>.

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