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The Loss Of The Marion Rogers



James Ivany of Toronto was an ex-partiate Newfoundlander who make many contributions to The Fisherman's Advocate, a weekly newspaper published in Port Union from 1918 to 1980. Included among his work was this poem concerning the loss of the Marion Rogers in 1938, published in The Fisherman's Advocate of March 2, 1962 (pages 5 and 11).

					The Loss of the Marion Rogers

				One autumn night of years ago
				A western wind was on the wane;
				Two men stood on a city pier,
				Two captains on the ocean main.
				True to the teachings of the sea
				Revealed to them when they were boys,
				They scanned the heavens earnestly
				To find a message in the skies.

				The northern lights in brillancy
				Swayed like a curtain of the stage,
				And wrote a sign as plain as day
				As handed down from age to age.
				A crescent moon, hung tiltingly
				Within a circle made of haze
				And myriad stars in heaven's robe - 
				All was discomfort to their gaze.

				We sometimes search the mystery
				To find why sailors often go
				And dare the perils of the sea
				When wisdom of the gods says no;
				For such display of many stars
				And circle 'round the tilted moon
				Are written in a seaman's book
				To indicate bad weather soon.

				Yet, notwithstanding truthful sign,
				Two schooners moved within the night
				With ten good seamen tested true
				And sailed beyond the harbour light.
				But while the city lights grew dim
				And distance darkened St. John's shore,
				A secret grim, the future bid,
				That one was marked to sail no more.

				A gentle wind blew off the land
				Along the coastline of Torbay,
				But ere a free wind could be born
				The west wind had to die away,
				And so with patience unexcelled
				They slowly sailed with spirits gay
				And prayed within themselves that God
				Would favour them when came the day.

				For one more lesson they acquired
				From generations passed along:
				That to a sailor on the sea
				'Tis good to see a golden dawn.
				But when the weary hours passed
				And silent gloom of night had fled,
				All hope was shattered to behold
				An omen bad - a dawn of red.

				So nature's last true weathervane
				Had signified what they must know;
				A storm was brewing in the east,
				And from the east the wind would blow.
				What words were spoken at the sight,
				What thoughts occurred, I cannot tell;
				I only know there was a calm,
				And peaceful waas the ocean's swell.

				With taunting, halting breezes light,
				On through a long and weary day
				They reached the tickle, passed the Grates,
				And half across the final bay.
				Then the storm like stalking beast
				(It's victims flesh from bone to rend
				With savage fangs and talons bared)
				Had picked that moment to decend. 

				At five p.m. that Sunday eve
				They saw the light of Trinity,
				And then a bold decision made
				That proved to be their destiny.
				On, on they went before the wind,
				Each passing moment tired, worn,
				And since I've wondered if one felt
				That death was riding in the storm.

				On leeward land they headed straight,
				A daring move in such a gale;
				But how destruction intervened,
				No man was left to tell the tale.
				When Monday's light had fully come,
				And busy folk at Trinity
				Went out their labours to pursue
				Saw wreckage drifting on the sea.

				Immediately alarm was made,
				And men who went from all around
				To seearch outside the harbour's shield
				What was expected, so was found.
				Two hundred paces from the horn
				There lay the Marion Rogers' frame.
				A total wreck upon the shore
				Like wasted bones on desert plain.

				When sign of life could not be seen,
				The work of dragging was begun
				And from the water cold and drear
				They took five bodies one by one.
				Still one lies hid beneath the waves,
				But one the heavenly records keep,
				When He commaned the dead to rise
				Will also call him from the deep.

				How sad to hear the children cry,
				How sad to heazr the deathbell ring,
				And notice in the funeral march
				Their striken kin walk sorrowing.
				How sad to think of broken homes,
				For who among us can forbear
				The anguish of a bleeding heart
				The touching sight of vacant chair.

				O God who reigns in heaven above,
				Great Ruler of the sea and land,
				Bow down Thine ear to my request,
				O Help me this to understand.
				Why call from earth such men as those
				Who put their constant trust in Thee,
				Why fill some loving hearts with pain
				And yet the worthier go free?

								James Ivany
								101 Vaughan Road


Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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