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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Cocoa-Tree

By Charles Warren Stoddard (1843–1909)

CAST on the water by a careless hand,

Day after day the winds persuaded me:

Onward I drifted till a coral tree

Stayed me among its branches, where the sand

Gathered about me, and I slowly grew,

Fed by the constant sun and the inconstant dew.

The sea-birds build their nests against my root,

And eye my slender body’s horny case.

Widowed within this solitary place

Into the thankless sea I cast my fruit;

Joyless I thrive, for no man may partake

Of all the store I bear and harvest for his sake.

No more I heed the kisses of the morn;

The harsh winds rob me of the life they gave;

I watch my tattered shadow in the wave,

And hourly droop and nod my crest forlorn,

While all my fibres stiffen and grow numb

Beckoning the tardy ships, the ships that never come!