REH Word of the Week: spindrift

noun

  1. sea spray; especially spray blown from waves from a gale; 2. fine wind-borne snow or sand

[Origin: 1823; alteration of Scots speendrift, from speen to drive before a strong wind plus English drift]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Sailing-ships are anchored about that ancient isle,
Ships that sailed the oceans in the dim dawn days,
Coracles from Britain, triremes from the Nile.
Anchored round the harbors, anchored mile on mile,
Ships and ships and shades of ships fading in the haze.

And there’s a Roman galley with its seven banks of oars,
And there’s a golden bargeboat that knew the Caesar’s hand,
And there’s a somber pirate craft with shattered cabin doors,
And there’s a sturdy bireme that sailed to Holy Land.

Main-trees lifting like a forest of the south,
Beaked prows looming, and the wide courses furled,
Dim decks heel-marked, marked by rain and drouth,
Spindrift in the cross-trees, drift of southern seas,
Dim ships, strong ships from all about the world.

[from “Ships”; for the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 295 and Always Comes Evening, p. 39]