Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CITY AND THE SEA, by MARION COUTHOUY SMITH



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THE CITY AND THE SEA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Struck like a blur of gold across the night
Last Line: The thunders of his old unconquered might.
Subject(s): Cities; Sea; Urban Life; Ocean


Struck like a blur of gold across the night,
A stretch of quivering light,
Shines the gay city by the sombre sea,
Flaunting her splendor to the very edge
Of that dim, pulsing, far-spread mystery;
Cutting the darkness with her gleaming wedge,
And flinging to his vastness, face to face,
The futile challenge of her insolent grace --
Her tawdry crown, her fleeting sovereignty.
Round her bright robe his swirling waters spin,
And crouched in mockery, fain to rend or greet,
With leonine murmur the strong tides creep in,
As fawning to her dancing, glittering feet.

Ever to pierce his changing mood she strives,
His scornful, turbulent pride, his soul indrawn;
She, foster-mother of uncounted lives,
He, guardian of life's dim portentous dawn,
Hoary, yet ever young;
Mate of the ancient midnight, lord of days
Past memory -- unimagined and unsung --
When the vast waters parted from the lands
In hissing trails of mist, and through the haze
Eyes of stupendous creatures shone like stars.

There, vaguely, with her shifting brood, she stands.
Wistful, behind the bars
That shut her soul from his; and he, at play,
Touches her shores with long white wandering hands,
Then draws them back along the shining sands,
Musingly, day by day;
Or, answering to the sudden tempest, breaks
In spume of giant wrath, and rearing, shakes
Around her trembling pageantry of light
The thunders of his old unconquered might.





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