Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NEAR SHORE, by LUCY LARCOM

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NEAR SHORE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The seas of thought are deep and wide
Last Line: Will keep near shore.

THE seas of thought are deep and wide;
Let those who will, O friend of mine,
Sail forth without a chart or guide,
Or plummet-line;
A blank of waters all around;
A blank of azure overhead;
An infinite of nothing found,
Whence faith has fled.
The Name that we with reverence speak,
Echoes across those wastes of thought;
But they who go far off to seek,
They hear it not.
The shores give back its sweetest sound
From rivulet cool, and shadowing rock,
And voices that calm hearths surround
With friendly talk.
Earth is our little island home,
And heaven the neighboring continent,
Whence winds to every inlet come
With balmiest scent.
And tenderest whispers thence we hear
From those who lately sailed across.
They love us still; since heaven is near,
Death is not loss.
From mountain slopes of breeze and balm,
What melodies arrest the oar!
What memories ripple through the calm!
We'll keep near shore.
By sweet home instincts wafted on,
By all the hopes that life has nursed,
We hasten where the loved have gone,
Who landed first.
If God be God, then heaven is real:
We need not lose ourselves and Him
In some vast sea of the ideal,
Dreamy and dim.
He cheats not any soul. He gave
Each being unity like His;
Love, that links beings, He must save;
Of Him it is.
Dear friend, we will not drift too far
Mid billows, fogs, and blinding foam,
To see Christ's beacon-light -- the star
That guides us home.
Moving towards heaven, we'll meet half-way
Some pilot from that unseen strand;
Then, anchoring safe in perfect day,
Tread the firm land.
Thence onward and forever on
Toward summits pried on summits bright:
The lost are found, and we have won
The Land of Light!
God is that country's glory: He
Alike the confidence is found,
Of those who try the uncertain sea,
Or solid ground.
Yet we, for love of those who bend
From yon clear heights, passed on before
To wait our coming, -- we, dear friend,
Will keep near shore.

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