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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Birds of Passage

THE BROKEN OAR

Once upon Iceland's solitary strand
  A poet wandered with his book and pen,
  Seeking some final word, some sweet Amen,
  Wherewith to close the volume in his hand.
The billows rolled and plunged upon the sand,
  The circling sea-gulls swept beyond his ken,
  And from the parting cloud-rack now and then
  Flashed the red sunset over sea and land.
Then by the billows at his feet was tossed
  A broken oar; and carved thereon he read,
  "Oft was I weary, when I toiled at thee";
And like a man, who findeth what was lost,
  He wrote the words, then lifted up his head,
  And flung his useless pen into the sea.