I'd Rather Be
 
I'd Rather Be, by Page Belnap

 

 

This has been my favorite poem for many decades. I have just discovered that it is all over the internet, and that it is even published in books of American poetry and literature. The tragedy is that it is posted as being penned by 'Anonymous.' The author is not anonymous at all. His name was Page Belnap. He was a wonderful man, and he died only a few weeks after writing this phenomenal piece. I worked with him, and after his death, our company had this poem inscribed onto a bronze plaque with his name on it. It was still on the wall as one of our most prized possessions many years later when I left the company.

The other tragedy is that the poem that is showing up on the internet has the wrong title, and has been changed from his original. Only slightly, but changed enough that it's simply not what he wrote. He did not call it, "The Ship That Sails." He called it, "I'd Rather Be."

Here is the original.

 

 

I'd Rather Be
by Page Belnap

I’d rather be the ship that sails
And ride the billows wild and free;
Than be the ship that always failed
To leave its port and go to sea.

I’d rather feel the sting of strife,
Where gales are born and tempests roar;
Than settle down to useless life
And rot in drydock on the shore.

I’d rather fight some mighty wave
With honor in supreme command;
And fill at last a well-earned grave
Than die in ease upon the sand.

I’d rather live where sea storms blow
And be the ship that always failed
To make the ports where it would go,
Than be the ship that never sailed.

 

 

  E-mail Sue McHenry