Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SEA DREAM, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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THE SEA DREAM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tonight the loud waters, the loud and crying waters
Last Line: Cities, sea-dreaming through the night!
Subject(s): Mermaids & Mermen; Sea; Silence; Water; Waves; Ocean


To-night the loud waters, the loud and crying waters, the wild and silvered
waters of the sea are in my mind,
Their booming and their thundering on sands the waves are plundering, the high
foaming combers in charging ranks aligned.
I strip on the shingle and I race to the kiss of them, the cold beryl welter of
wave on swelling wave,
The desperate rush and hiss of them, the drenching, blinding bliss of them, the
kingly, roaring waters, so strong my soul to save!

Oh, high along the sands, where nods not any flower, the silver, crumbling moon
lights the silver webs they spread!
With passion, with power she sways their splendid hour, and a man's heart leaps
to meet them, as quickened from the dead.
I slough the gray, ungracious and soiled and tattered seeming of the might that
was my mind. Now, oh, better far to be
At dawn afloat and dreaming where the sea-birds waken screaming on the green-
gleaming rollers far out, far out at sea!

For there is deep silence from all the wrangling voices, and there is clean
rapture undaunted by desire,
Where the world swings and poises, and the flashing blue rejoices, and, misty on
the sea-line, some foreland glints with fire,—
With fire aripple round me, as the magic sun and blinding sweeps high through
mists of rose, and the smell of dawn grows keen.
Time's mills, for their grinding, must wait upon my finding, ere I return to
cities to sing what I have seen!

To sing of the faces that meet the midnight swimmer who breasts the billow
strongly through silver sequins bright,
Till moonbeams filter dimmer, and white the faces glimmer of mermen and mermaids
around him in the night,
With conch-shells spumy-blowing and moonshine tresses flowing, and green eyes,
and gray eyes, and lips like coral wet,
All gleaming and glowing, and seines phantasmal throwing to maze the breathing
human in many a ghostly net;

To sing of that spirit who brings the breeze ere dawning; a cloud-enfolded
angel, a flash of jewelled wings;
Who clears night's sable awning from waves that shudder fawning to heel, like
hounds that scuffle about the feet of kings;
To sing of haunted waters, of sacred, moon-drenched waters, the gold of morning
waters,—that fade away in light. ...
For walls are still around me. The dawn hath only found me a thrall to iron
cities, sea-dreaming through the night!





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