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The Ships of Yule
Bliss Carman


When I was just a little boy,
Before I went to school,
I had a fleet of forty sail
I called the Ships of Yule;
Of every rig, from rakish brig
And gallant barkentine,
To little Fundy fishing boats
With gunwales painted green.
They used to go on trading trips
Around the world for me,
For though I had to stay on shore
My heart was on the sea.
They stopped at every port to call
From Babylon to Rome,
To load with all the lovely things
We never had at home;
With elephants and ivory
Bought from the King of Tyre,
And shells and silks and sandal-wood
That sailor men admire;
With figs and dates from Samarcand,
And squatty ginger-jars,
And scented silver amulets
From Indian bazaars;
With sugar-cane from Port of Spain,
And monkeys from Ceylon,
And paper lanterns from Pekin
With painted dragons on;
With cocoanuts from Zanzibar,
And pines from Singapore;
And when they had unloaded these
They could go back for more.
And even after I was big
And had to go to school,
My mind was often far away
Aboard the Ships of Yule.

This poem is in the public domain.



William Bliss Carman (1861 – 1929) was a Canadian poet whose standing and success rose and fell throughout his lifetime, though he was eventually named as his country’s poet laureate. Distantly related to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bliss spent most of his adult life in Boston, pursuing whatever literary career he could. Though his poetry was respected, it wasn’t especially popular until he published Songs of Vagabondia, a rollicking, free-spirited collection that people connected with immediately. His other most notable work was serving as editor for the World's Best Poetry book series.

Echoes from Vagabondia
by Bliss Carman


Post New Comment:
I would love to travel on the journal amid the Ships of Yule. Perhaps I can still rub my Aladdin's lamp, wish on a star, or speak with a Genie. The poem is so nostalgic and brings back my childhood wishes, now the fantasies and delight of an older era.
Posted 12/25/2011 10:49 AM
Glen Sorestad:
Carman's poem strikes a nostalgic chord for me, a poem from my schooldays.
Posted 12/19/2011 09:04 AM
Fun. The last line kind of puts a bow on it.
Posted 12/19/2011 08:58 AM

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