Sea Call


Roar on and in thy roaring send to me
A breath of other days, O distant sea!
Throw up thy snowy spray unto the skies
That it in falling stirs my memory.

I hear thee thundering on the far-off beach,
Sucking the shingle o’er the sandy reach
Down with a swirl, and with a swift rush back,
Falling and toppling in the new-made breach.

I hear thy far surf’s sullen-throated roar,
Milky in moonlight round the silver shore;
To where I sit alone send a strong call
To open in my mind the secret door.

Just such a night, just such a unlit deep,
Just such a throbbing call pulses to leap,
Was there when two of us climbed on the rocks,
When two of us to water’s edge did creep.

When two of us sat awestruck, side by side,
Hand clasped in hand, all other touch denied;
Lookingly unseeingly into the night,
Our troubled thoughts afloat upon the tide.

You said no word then, and I did not speak;
Hand clasped in hand we sat there on the peak;
We looked into the night, then turned our eyes
In mutual scan, and knew not what to seek.

The sea called urgently, we dared not stir,
For so to do, we felt, spelt death for e’er;
Both of us felt that call, yet dared not heed –
There was, O Sea, a Voice still mightier!

Yet God was in the ocean! His the wave,
His are the rocks, and His the booming cave;
He is the night that floats upon His brow:
He is the cold black depths: He is the grave.

This, when at length I spake, I said to you;
And in my zeal I would have had us two
Answer the call, had you not stayed my tongue,
And low replied my work was still to do.

I thought it strange, but like a star remote
You grew. We parted then; your last look smote
My heart; I see it yet. O Sea, that night
Upon your breast my very life did float!

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