Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONG OF GLAUCUS, by LAURENT TAILHEDE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SONG OF GLAUCUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sea! How blue, far off, the sonorous sea!
Last Line: Will watch a long time if I do not come.
Subject(s): Sea; Seaweed; Singing & Singers; Water; Waves; Ocean

The Sea! How blue, far off, the sonorous sea!
The harmonious plain that never the trembling foot
Of man shall desecrate, base-hearted man,
The Sea that, in the calm or the fierce onslaught
Of tempests, keeps an ever inspiring soul;
The soft, impulsive sea is the eternal nurse
Of the Gods.
The Sea, with its foam-scuds and its cries,
Its roaring, its affrights, and its debris,
Is the venerable breast where all the World finds drink.
It is more procreant than grain-spread fields;
And its deeps, floored with mother-of-pearl and coral,
Its billows where the wind carves out vast vents,
Guard, as a flower snatched from every eye,
The enormous fermentation of all life.
The Sea is beautiful and, meeting the varied sky,
Seems a tremendous fish with silver scales.
The Sea is beautiful.
Lovingly the sky bends down
When, sombre or gleaming like a furnace-door,
It yields the sun the abysm of its waves.

The Sea, for divers or for mariners,
Has numberless kisses and cool, clear smiles.
I love it!
That love first came to life in darkness
And in the darkness silently has grown;
When still a lad, and sleeping near the billows,
I felt from its glaucous valleys on my brow
The languid lift of salty exhalations.

Thalassa! Thetis! Calm divinity
That rule in peace and all-immensity:
Beneficent! If I have dreamed this dream
Of rising, a water-god incarnate on the strand,
I who once herded, where the mountains rear,
My savage flocks that pastured on sea-weed,
'Tis that I may unite with You, O Goddess!
Blessèd one! Who gleam and vanish in the hollowed wave,
With your breasts of pearl and with your sea-green scales!
Yes, I would launch into the opening gulf
As do the seagulls, as the poets do.
For I have heard the sea-mews plaintive call,
Cradled afar, white on the deep-blue waters,
And my heart is fevered and swollen with desire.
As a young elm uprooted by the storm
I lean over the glaucous azure that enthralls me,
And my days stream toward Thalassa like a flood.

Tonight I shall go down upon the strand,
In the golden hour when Artemis lights the summits,
And crave your compassion, Gods of the lucid deeps.
There, stripping off my days and their vain hopes
Slowly I shall put by my byssus robe;
The breath of Thetis shall quiver in my nostrils
And I shall couch me on the deep-sea sands.
You who move toward your decline, bespattering
The sky with bright metals colored of amber and blood,
Lord of the day and the fires of redemption,
Titan whose victory the seasons tell,
Young conqueror who joy in the glorious play
Of your foam-white and whirlwind-furious steeds,
Hyperion! Archer! Sun! The Lord of Space!
I hail you still, before you turn away
And soft Night overshadows the purple sky:
I shall see you no more tomorrows! Hyperion, hail!

Now gather me within your luring folds,
You of the blue peplos! The quivering stalks
Of the pale tamarisk incline to the shore:
So do the souls of children who are dead
Bend with desire of your soft embrace.

I come to you!
And yet, by ash and oak,
Sweet-armed virgins, pure as thine own waters,
Entwine their chorus in the shadow of the reeds;
My black dog still guards my unruly heifers;
And in the plain, far from your darkening shores,
There is a quiet roof o'ergrown with vines
Where I might shield my days with surest love,
A tranquil home where, in the mellow vineyards,
Hover the busy swarms of fecund bees,
Where my mother, this evening, stretching forth her arms,
Will watch a long time if I do not come.

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