sea

The Mystic Sea

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The smell of the sea in my nostrils,
The sound of the sea in mine ears;
The touch of the spray on my burning face,
Like the mist of reluctant tears.

The blue of the sky above me,
The green of the waves beneath;
The sun flashing down on a gray-white sail
Like a scimitar from its sheath.

And ever the breaking billows,
And ever the rocks’ disdain;
And ever a thrill in mine inmost heart
That my reason cannot explain.

So I say to my heart, ‘Be silent,
The mystery of time is here;
Death’s way will be plain when we fathom the main,
And the secret of life be clear.’

 

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

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By The Sea

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I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.

And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion’s sleeve –
And then I started too.

And he – he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, – then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.

 

– Emily Dickinson

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Seashore

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I heard or seemed to hear the chiding Sea
Say, Pilgrim, why so late and slow to come?
Am I not always here, thy summer home?
Is not my voice thy music, morn and eve?
My breath thy healthful climate in the heats,
My touch thy antidote, my bay thy bath?
Was ever building like my terraces?
Was ever couch magnificent as mine?
Lie on the warm rock-ledges, and there learn
A little hut suffices like a town.
I make your sculptured architecture vain,
Vain beside mine. I drive my wedges home,
And carve the coastwise mountain into caves.
Lo! here is Rome and Nineveh and Thebes,
Karnak and Pyramid and Giant’s Stairs
Half piled or prostrate; and my newest slab
Older than all thy race.

Behold the Sea,
The opaline, the plentiful and strong,
Yet beautiful as is the rose in June,
Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July;
Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds,
Purger of earth, and medicine of men;
Creating a sweet climate by my breath,

Washing out harms and griefs from memory,
And, in my mathematic ebb and flow,
Giving a hint of that which changes not.
Rich are the sea-gods:–who gives gifts but they?
They grope the sea for pearls, but more than pearls:
They pluck Force thence, and give it to the wise.
For every wave is wealth to Dædalus,
Wealth to the cunning artist who can work
This matchless strength. Where shall he find, O waves!
A load your Atlas shoulders cannot lift?

I with my hammer pounding evermore
The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust,
Strewing my bed, and, in another age,
Rebuild a continent of better men.
Then I unbar the doors: my paths lead out
The exodus of nations: I dispersed
Men to all shores that front the hoary main.

I too have arts and sorceries;
Illusion dwells forever with the wave.
I know what spells are laid. Leave me to deal
With credulous and imaginative man;
For, though he scoop my water in his palm,
A few rods off he deems it gems and clouds.
Planting strange fruits and sunshine on the shore,
I make some coast alluring, some lone isle,
To distant men, who must go there, or die.

 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I Must Go Down To The Sea Again

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I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there –
I wonder if they’re dry?

 

– Spike Milligan

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Love At Sea

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We are in love’s land to-day;
Where shall we go?
Love, shall we start or stay,
Or sail or row?
There’s many a wind and way,
And never a May but May;
We are in love’s hand to-day;
Where shall we go?

Our landwind is the breath
Of sorrows kissed to death
And joys that were;
Our ballast is a rose;
Our way lies where God knows
And love knows where.
We are in love’s hand to-day—

Our seamen are fledged Loves,
Our masts are bills of doves,
Our decks fine gold;
Our ropes are dead maids’ hair,
Our stores are love-shafts fair
And manifold.
We are in love’s land to-day—

Where shall we land you, sweet?
On fields of strange men’s feet,
Or fields near home?
Or where the fire-flowers blow,
Or where the flowers of snow
Or flowers of foam?
We are in love’s hand to-day—

Land me, she says, where love
Shows but one shaft, one dove,
One heart, one hand.
—A shore like that, my dear,
Lies where no man will steer,
No maiden land.

 

– AC Swinburne

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The Sea – Swallows

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This fell when Christmas lights were done,
Red rose leaves will never make wine;
But before the Easter lights begun;
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.

Two lovers sat where the rowan blows
And all the grass is heavy and fine,
By the gathering-place of the sea-swallows
When the wind brings them over Tyne.

Blossom of broom will never make bread,
Red rose leaves will never make wine;
Between her brows she is grown red,
That was full white in the fields by Tyne.

“O what is this thing ye have on,
Show me now, sweet daughter of mine?”
“O father, this is my little son
That I found hid in the sides of Tyne.

“O what will ye give my son to eat,
Red rose leaves will never make wine?”
“Fen-water and adder’s meat,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

“Or what will ye get my son to wear,
Red rose leaves will never make wine?”
“A weed and a web of nettle’s hair,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

“Or what will ye take to line his bed,
Red rose leaves will never make wine?”
“Two black stones at the kirkwall’s head,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

“Or what will ye give my son for land,
Red rose leaves will never make wine?”
“Three girl’s paces of red sand,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

“Or what will ye give me for my son,
Red rose leaves will never make wine?”
“Six times to kiss his young mouth on,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

“But what have ye done with the bearing-bread,
And what have ye made of the washing-wine?
Or where have ye made your bearing-bed,
To bear a son in the sides of Tyne?”

“The bearing-bread is soft and new,
There is no soil in the straining wine:
The bed was made between green and blue,
It stands full soft by the sides of Tyne.

“The fair grass was my bearing-bread,
The well-water my washing-wine;
The low leaves were my bearing-bed,
And that was best in the sides of Tyne.”

“O daughter, if ye have done this thing,
I wot the greater grief is mine;
This was a bitter child-bearing,
When ye were got by the sides of Tyne.

“About the time of sea-swallows
That fly full thick by six and nine,
Ye’ll have my body out of the house,
To bury me by the sides of Tyne.

“Set nine stones by the wall for twain,
Red rose leaves will never make wine;
For the bed I take will measure ten,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.

“Tread twelve girl’s paces out for three,
Red rose leaves will never make wine;
For the pit I made has taken me,
The ways are sair fra’ the Till to the Tyne.”

 

– AC Swinburne

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Sunrise Sea

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It’s sunrise
Most people are asleep
But I
Am awake
And up down by the sea

I hear the birds singing songs
I see the waves rippling in the water

Along the shore
I see starfish, shells and rocks
glittering in the sunlight

Its sunrise
Most people are asleep
But I
Am awake
And up down by the sea
Meditating and spending time
Alone with nature

 

– Emily Krauss

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