Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHELL, by JAMES STEPHENS



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THE SHELL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: And then I pressed the shell
Last Line: To hear a car go jolting down the street!
Subject(s): Sea; Shells; Ocean; Conchology


And then I pressed the shell
Close to my ear
And listened well,
And straightway like a bell
Came low and clear
The slow, sad murmur of far distant seas,
Whipped by an icy breeze
Upon a shore
Wind swept and desolate.
It was a sunless strand that never bore
The footprint of a man,
Nor felt the weight
Since time began
Of any human quality or stir,
Save what the dreary winds and waves incur.
And in the hush of waters was the sound
Of pebbles rolling round,
For ever rolling with a hollow sound,
And bubbling sea-weeds, as the waters go,
Swish to and fro
Their long, cold tentacles of slimy grey.
There was no day,
Nor ever came a night
Setting the stars alight
To wonder at the moon.
Was twilight only and the frightened croon,
Smitten to whimpers, of the dreary wind
And waves that journeyed blind--
And then I loosed my ear--oh, it was sweet
To hear a car go jolting down the street!





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