- Year Published: 1913
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States of America
- Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
- Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
- Word Count: 139
Dunbar, P. (1913). "Ships that Pass in the Night". Lyrics of Lowly Life (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved December 10, 2023, from
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. ""Ships that Pass in the Night"." Lyrics of Lowly Life. Lit2Go Edition. 1913. Web. <>. December 10, 2023.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, ""Ships that Pass in the Night"," Lyrics of Lowly Life, Lit2Go Edition, (1913), accessed December 10, 2023,.
Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;
I look far out into the pregnant night,
Where I can hear a solemn booming gun
And catch the gleaming of a random light,
That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing.
My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;
For I would hail and check that ship of ships.
I stretch my hands imploring, cry aloud,
My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,
And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.
O Earth, O Sky, O Ocean, both surpassing,
O heart of mine, O soul that dreads the dark!
Is there no hope for me? Is there no way
That I may sight and check that speeding bark
Which out of sight and sound is passing, passing?