Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PICTURES FROM APPLEDORE: 1, by JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL



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PICTURES FROM APPLEDORE: 1, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A heap of bare and splintery crags
Last Line: In the blackness where they wallow about.
Subject(s): Isles Of Shoals, New Hampshire


A HEAP of bare and splintery crags
Tumbled about by lightning and frost,
With rifts and chasms and storm-bleached jags,
That wait and growl for a ship to be lost;
No island, but rather the skeleton
Of a wrecked and vengeance-smitten one,
Where, aeons ago, with half-shut eye,
The sluggish saurian crawled to die,
Gasping under titanic ferns;
Ribs of rock that seaward jut,
Granite shoulders and boulders and snags,
Round which, though the winds in heaven be shut,
The nightmared ocean murmurs and yearns,
Welters, and swashes, and tosses, and turns,
And the dreary black seaweed lolls and wags;
Only rock from shore to shore,
Only a moan through the bleak clefts blown,
With sobs in the rifts where the coarse kelp shifts,
Falling and lifting, tossing and drifting,
And under all a deep, dull roar,
Dying and swelling, forevermore, --
Rock and moan and roar alone,
And the dread of some nameless thing unknown,
These make Appledore.

These make Appledore by night:
Then there are monsters left and right;
Every rock is a different monster;
All you have read of, fancied, dreamed,
When you waked at night because you screamed,
There they lie for half a mile,
Jumbled together in a pile,
And (though you know they never once stir),
If you look long, they seem to be moving
Just as plainly as plain can be,
Crushing and crowding, wading and shoving
Out into the awful sea,
Where you can hear them snort and spout
With pauses between, as if they were listening,
Then tumult anon when the surf breaks glistening
In the blackness where they wallow about.





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