Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

V. The Town Down the River

24. The Pilot

FROM the Past and Unavailing

Out of cloudland we are steering:

After groping, after fearing,

Into starlight we come trailing,

And we find the stars are true.

Still, O comrade, what of you?

You are gone, but we are sailing,

And the old ways are all new.

For the Lost and Unreturning

We have drifted, we have waited;

Uncommanded and unrated,

We have tossed and wandered, yearning

For a charm that comes no more

From the old lights by the shore:

We have shamed ourselves in learning

What you knew so long before.

For the Breed of the Far-going

Who are strangers, and all brothers,

May forget no more than others

Who looked seaward with eyes flowing.

But are brothers to bewail

One who fought so foul a gale?

You have won beyond our knowing,

You are gone, but yet we sail.