Harvey A. Burton, son of Arthur, was a prolific writer of poems whose book entitled The Sinking of the Nazi Fleet earned him acclaim both in Canada and the United States. One of his poems, entitled “Green Island Wreck”, was inspired by the anecdote recounted above:
It was a howling frigid night
And snow was falling fast,
As rays of old Green Island light
Shone on a splintered mast;
A battered ship was in its glow,
Her decks were well awash,
Then in the lull the voice “Yo ho”
Came whispering through the force.
With awe the keeper gazed the wreck
That shuddered in her throes,
While through the wrath a struggling speck
There thrashed the icy floes;
A deathly silence ‘twixt the blast
Pervades the listener’s ear,
As on the shore he stood aghast
And trembled in his fear.
Throughout the stormy depths of night
The vessel shed its pawn,
To bruise before a shattering might
That strove to show its brawn;
The antlers of the rocky bower
Beat out a deafening din,
To hie the combers on to power
And wash away their sin.
Then shoreward through the stormy breach
A youthful form was seen,
He tossed within the keeper’s reach,
‘Twas one of sweet sixteen;
His wavy crown was flaxen fair
Alike the billows foam,
And on his lips was sealed a prayer
For his Norwegian home.
The tempest hushed, then all was still
A reef had claimed its toll,
It harkened to the Giver’s will
To claim a mariner’s soul;
Then lone and wreathless in a plot
Reposed the fairest guest,
Until a golden strand was sought
To soothe a mother’s breast.
His peace was but a brief affair
His locks were gently shorn,
Which caused a rolling briny tear
To flow from they who mourn;
Alas the youth encased in steel
Embarked across the wave,
To sate a mother’s sad appeal
And find his lasting home.