Southern Cross

© Jim Stewart, SOCAN


From the pen of my favorite New Brunswick poet, Jim Stewart, who composed the epic Marco Polo Suite, "a tribute to one of Canada's most famous ships."  I quote from the notes of his CD: "On its first voyage to Australia (1852) the Marco Polo lost 52 children to a measles epidemic."  The "light" is Cape Otway off Melbourne, the "birds" are Australian swans.

            Carol was the harper on the original recording of the suite.


Carol – harp                            Gordon – viol


There's a light in the distant darkness tonight

Soon we'll be there, tomorrow I swear

May the fire in your heart and eyes be as bright

This is my silent prayer.


            So rest, baby rest – by the shining be blest

            Never in shadows lost

            This lone holy candle is guiding us on

            Under the Southern Cross.


There were birds in the twilight, reeling on high

Like Noah's sign, their freedom was mine

And although they were wandering in a strange sky

Theirs was the far shoreline.


            So hush, baby, hush – by wing sounding rush

            Never in sunset lost

            These cloud-dwelling dreamers are guiding us on

            Under the Southern Cross.


And this ship has seen glory, heartache and mirth

Sunlight and hail, in doldrums and gale

Though she's ten thousand miles from the land of her birth

On through this night we sail.


            So sleep, baby, sleep – by the wind and the deep

            Never again be tossed

            This proud weary traveler's taking us home

            Under the Southern Cross.




Southern Cross is recorded on the Gordon Bok album Gatherings, and on the Jim Stewart album Marco Polo Suite