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Beach Poems

Table of Contents

On the Beach

  1. Meadow and Sea by Amos Russel Wells
  2. By the Sea by Elsie Cooper
  3. Evening, Near the Sea by Edward Dowden
  4. The Sea Mist by Amos Russel Wells
  5. On the Dunes by Bliss Carman
  6. The Little Beach-Bird by Richard Henry Dana
  7. The Path to Sankoty by The Path to Sankoty
  8. On the Beach in November by Edward Cracroft LeFroy
  9. A Thought On The Sea-Shore by John Newton
  10. Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
  11. The Old Swimmer by Christopher Morley
  12. A Parable by Mathilde Blind
  13. Sand by John B. Tabb
  14. The Old Sail-Boat by Francis Charles MacDonald
  15. At The Sea-Side by Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. The Boats by Ruby Archer
  17. Beachmont by Ruby Archer
  18. Waves

  19. A Wave by Ellice Hopkins
  20. A Green Wave by William Sharp
  21. The Waves on the Sea-Shore by Aunt Effie
  22. The Sea Rolls Up by Annette Wynne
  23. The Rock and the Sand by Anonymous
  24. The Rock in the Sea by Henry Ames Blood
  25. Wave-Music by Ruby Archer
  26. Seashells

  27. The Sea Shell by Arthur Weir
  28. Sea-Shell Murmurs by Eugene Lee-Hamilton
  29. Appreciation by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  30. Shell-Tints by John B. Tabb
  31. The Shell and the Heart by Ruby Archer
  32. The Tide

  33. High Tide by Amos Russel Wells
  34. Tides by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  35. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  36. The Sound of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  37. Permanence by Amos Russel Wells
  38. When the Tide Comes In by Ruby Archer
  39. The Miser by Ruby Archer
  40. To Little Wave by Ruby Archer
  41. The Life-tide by John B. Tabb

On the Beach

  1. Meadow and Sea

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I watch the children play beside the sea
    Upon an upland meadow lifted high,
    The ocean large before them, wave and sky
    A boundless panorama wild and free.
    The clouds in floating companies agree.
    White ships allure the fondly following eye,
    And all the glowing prospect far or nigh

    Is Nature's meditative jubilee
    And yet the children toss their little ball,
    Shouting and rioting in heedless play,
    Unmindful of the glory of it all,
    Nor thinking once beyond their meadow gay.
    Among the buttercups they leap and fall
    The ocean wide before them—what care they?

  2. By the Sea

    by Elsie Cooper

    On either hand
    A sweep of tawny sand
    With gentle curve extending, smooth and wide,
    On which bold rocks look down
    With dark and sullen frown,
    Slopes out to meet the fast incoming tide.

    The sunbeams leap
    And frolic o'er the deep,
    And where their light is most intensely pour'd,
    Strike from its surface keen
    Flashes of diamond sheen,
    Dazzling the eyes that gaze out thitherward.

    A cloud or two
    Drifts lightly 'mid the blue;
    And, like a faint white blot upon the sky,
    Up yonder you can trace
    The day moon's dim drowned face,
    Whose light will flood all heaven by-and-by.

    The rythmical
    Hoarse sounds that rise and fall,
    Thund'rous, upon the ear from out at sea,
    The tumult nearer land,
    And splash upon the sand
    Of breaking waves, compose one harmony.

  3. Evening, Near the Sea

    by Edward Dowden

    Light ebbs from off the Earth; the fields are strange,
    Dark, trackless, tenantless; now the mute sky
    Resigns itself to Night and Memory,
    And no wind will yon sunken clouds derange,
    No glory enrapture them; from cot or grange
    The rare voice ceases; one long-breathed sigh,
    And steeped in summer sleep the world must lie;
    All things are acquiescing in the change.

    Hush! while the vaulted hollow of the night
    Deepens, what voice is this the sea sends forth,
    Disconsolate iterance, a passionless moan?
    Ah! now the Day is gone, and tyrannous Light,
    And the calm presence of fruit-bearing Earth:
    Cry, Sea! it is thy hour; thou art alone.

  4. The Sea Mist

    by Amos Russel Wells

    It crept—crept—crept—
    Into the rooms where people slept,
    And breathed on the mirrors till they wept.
    In hungry mood
    It stole to the pantry crammed with food
    And left the taste of its saltness there.
    It sat in my chair
    And molded the leather. It filled the air
    With a great gray ghostly horror that was not light
    Nor dark, but a pall and a blight.
    It crawled through the trees,
    And changed the woods into islanded seas.
    It prowled—prowled—prowled,
    And all that it touched it fouled.
    It was not the sea,
    My splendid, brave, and glittering sea,
    But it held the ocean as it held me,
    And hushed its waves with its mystery.

    It was not the sea, for out of the sea there came,
    With a cheery burst of jubilant flame,
    My comrade the sun that put it to shame,
    And thrust it away
    With its trallings gray,
    And its shattered horror that had to obey,
    When, lo, a crystalline day!
    But still, in the midst of the warmth and glow,
    The clearness and fairness, I know. I know,
    That out somewhere, beneath the horizon's rim,
    Lurks the spectre grim,
    And soon, if I turn to sleep,
    It will creep—creep—creep—
    With its empty mysterious dole
    Back into the world and back into my soul.

  5. On the Dunes

    by Bliss Carman

    Here all night on the dunes
    In the rocking wind we sleep,
    Watched by sentry stars,
    Lulled by the drone of the deep.

    Till hark, in the chill of the dawn
    A field lark wakes and cries,
    And over the floor of the sea
    We watch the round sun rise.

    The world is washed once more
    In a tide of purple and gold,
    And the heart of the land is filled
    With desires and dreams untold.

  6. The Little Beach-Bird

    by Richard Henry Dana

    Thou little bird, thou dweller by the sea,
    Why takest thou its melancholy voice,
    And with that boding cry
    Why o'er the waves dost fly?
    O, rather, bird, with me
    Through the fair land rejoice!

    Thy flitting form comes ghostly dim and pale,
    As driven by a beating storm at sea;
    Thy cry is weak and scared,
    As if thy mates had shared
    The doom of us. Thy wail,—
    What doth it bring to me?

    Thou call'st along the sand, and haunt'st the surge,
    Restless, and sad; as if, in strange accord
    With the motion and the roar
    Of waves that drive to shore,
    One spirit did ye urge—
    The Mystery—the Word.

    Of thousands, thou, both sepulchre and pall,
    Old Ocean! A requiem o'er the dead,
    From out thy gloomy cells,
    A tale of mourning tells,—
    Tells of man's woe and fall,
    His sinless glory fled.

    Then turn thee, little bird, and take thy flight
    Where the complaining sea shall sadness bring
    Thy spirit nevermore.
    Come, quit with me the shore,
    For gladness and the light,
    Where birds of summer sing.

  7. The Path to Sankoty

    by Bliss Carman

    It winds along the headlands
    Above the open sea —
    The lonely moorland footpath
    That leads to Sankoty.

    The crooning sea spreads sailless
    And gray to the world's rim,
    Where hang the reeking fog-banks
    Primordial and dim.

    There fret the ceaseless currents,
    And the eternal tide
    Chafes over hidden shallows
    Where the white horses ride.

    The wistful fragrant moorlands
    Whose smile bids panic cease,
    Lie treeless and cloud-shadowed
    In grave and lonely peace.

    Across their flowering bosom,
    From the far end of day
    Blow clean the great soft moor-winds
    All sweet with rose and bay.

    A world as large and simple
    As first emerged for man,
    Cleared for the human drama,
    Before the play began.

    O well the soul must treasure
    The calm that sets it free—
    The vast and tender skyline,
    The sea-turn's wizardry,

    Solace of swaying grasses,
    The friendship of sweet-fern—
    And in the world's confusion
    Remembering, must yearn

    To tread the moorland footpath
    That leads to Sankoty,
    Hearing the field-larks shrilling
    Beside the sailless sea.

  8. On the Beach in November

    by Edward Cracroft LeFroy

    My heart's Ideal, that somewhere out of sight
    Art beautiful and gracious and alone,—
    Haply, where blue Saronic waves are blown
    On shores that keep some touch of old delight,—
    How welcome is thy memory, and how bright,
    To one who watches over leagues of stone
    These chilly northern waters creep and moan
    From weary morning unto weary night.

    O Shade-form, lovelier than the living crowd,
    So kind to votaries, yet thyself unvowed,
    So free to human fancies, fancy-free,
    My vagrant thought goes out to thee, to thee,
    As wandering lonelier than the Poet's cloud,
    I listen to the wash of this dull sea.

  9. A Thought On The Sea-Shore

    by John Newton

    In ev'ry object here I see
    Something, O Lord, that leads to thee:
    Firm as the rocks thy promise stands,
    Thy mercies countless as the sands,
    Thy love a sea immensely wide,
    Thy grace an ever-flowing tide.
    In ev'ry object here I see
    Something, my heart, that points at thee
    Hard as the rocks that bound the strand,
    Unfruitful as the barren sand,
    Deep and deceitful as the ocean,
    And, like the tide, in constant motion.

  10. Dover Beach

    by Matthew Arnold

    The sea is calm tonight.
    The tide is full, the moon lies fair
    Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
    Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
    Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
    Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
    Only, from the long line of spray
    Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
    Listen! you hear the grating roar
    Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
    At their return, up the high strand,
    Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
    With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
    The eternal note of sadness in.

    Sophocles long ago
    Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
    Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
    Of human misery; we
    Find also in the sound a thought,
    Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.

    Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.

  11. The Old Swimmer

    by Christopher Morley

    I often wander on the beach
    Where once, so brown of limb,
    The biting air, the roaring surf
    Summoned me to swim.

    I see my old abundant youth
    Where combers lean and spill,
    And though I taste the foam no more
    Other swimmers will.

    Oh, good exultant strength to meet
    The arching wall of green,
    To break the crystal, swirl, emerge
    Dripping, taut, and clean.

    To climb the moving hilly blue,
    To dive in ecstasy
    And feel the salty chill embrace
    Arm and rib and knee.

    What brave and vanished laughter then
    And tingling thighs to run,
    What warm and comfortable sands
    Dreaming in the sun.

    The crumbling water spreads in snow,
    The surf is hissing still,
    And though I kiss the salt no more
    Other swimmers will.

  12. A Parable

    by Mathilde Blind

    Between the sandhills and the sea
    A narrow strip of silver sand,
    Whereon a little maid doth stand,
    Who picks up shells continually,
    Between the sandhills and the sea.

    Far as her wondering eyes can reach,
    A vastness heaving gray in gray
    To the frayed edges of the day
    Furls his red standard on the breach
    Between the sky-line and the beach.

    The waters of the flowing tide
    Cast up the sea-pink shells and weed;
    She toys with shells, and doth not heed
    The ocean, which on every side
    Is closing round her vast and wide.

    It creeps her way as if in play,
    Pink shells at her pink feet to cast;
    But now the wild waves hold her fast,
    And bear her off and melt away,
    A vastness heaving gray in gray.

  13. Sand

    by John B. Tabb

    Sterile sister though I be,
    Twinborn to the barren Sea,
    Yet of all things fruitful we
    Wait the end; and presently,
    Lo, they are not! then to me
    (Children to the nurse's knee)
    Come the billows fresh and free,
    Breathing Immortality.

  14. The Old Sail-Boat

    by Francis Charles MacDonald

    Dismasted, rudderless, sides agape,
    She lies upon the beach a wreck,—
    She that was wont, a lovely shape,
    To sail with beauty on her deck.

    Beneath the moon before the wind
    She sped, and floods of silvery speech
    Poured over her: yet now I find
    Only the hulk upon the beach.

    For they are gone; the house is gone;
    Beauty has faded, lips are still:
    The old boat on the beach alone
    Lies in the shadow of the hill.

  15. At The Sea-Side

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    When I was down beside the sea
    A wooden spade they gave to me
    To dig the sandy shore.

    My holes were empty like a cup.
    In every hole the sea came up,
    Till it could come no more.

  16. The Boats

    by Ruby Archer

    An old man looked from his window
    The length of a sandy beach,
    Where two little boats at mooring lay
    Just out of the billows' reach.

    He leaned his head on the casement,
    And talked to them with a sigh:
    "It's fine to be out on the tossing bay,
    But safe to be high and dry.

    "Do you long for the laughing water
    So near to the stranded stern?
    At the siren call of the ebbing tide
    Do you tremble and thrill and yearn?

    "Do you dream of the old glad bounding,
    At rest on the sand and stone?
    Do your empty hearts in a weary plaint
    Give moan to the ocean's moan?

    "You need not answer," he murmured,
    "I know what you fain would say;
    For in my life is a line of sand,
    Where the boats are moored for aye."

  17. Beachmont

    by Ruby Archer

    Each morning is a time of new delight. What joy, to breathe the salty, sea-born air;
    To watch the birds in high, unfettered flight; Or climb among stern rocks, severely bare,
    To some high cliff. Then as the dawn-mist clears, A pearly sail half drowned in cloud appears.

    I love old Ocean, though with spirit rude
    He takes unfair advantage, being strong.
    Yet never will my spirit feel subdued,
    Nor bear resentment for his roughness long.
    He hurls me prone, and roars above my head,
    Nor cares if I am left alive or dead.

    But oh, his power and beauty awe my soul!
    And I would love him, though it were in death.
    Each day when first the waves about me roll,
    In one long sob I seem to lose my breath.
    A trembling takes my limbs at touch of brine,
    As if the ocean's heart beat close to mine.

    But this soon leaves me, and I feel at home,
    I revel in the bright, translucent wave,
    And toss my arms about amid the foam,
    And wish I dared the deeper water brave.
    Had I no life to lose—a free Undine—
    What joy to plunge beneath that blue serene!

  18. Waves

  19. A Wave

    by Ellice Hopkins

    O being in thy dissolution known
    Most lovely then;
    O Life that ever has to die alone,
    To live again;
    O bounding Heart that still must bow and break
    To touch thine end;

    O broken Purpose that must failure take,
    And death ward bend,
    For the great tide to stretch from rock to rock
    His shining way;
    O wandering Will that from the furthest shock
    Of sea-deeps grey,
    Silver constraint of secret light on high
    Lead safe to shore;
    O living Rapture that dost inly sigh,
    And evermore
    Within thy joy the wailful voices keep;
    I see thee now,
    O Son of the unfathomable deep!
    And trembling know
    The crownèd Shadow of man's opposites,
    The forces dread
    That sway him into being, blanched with lights
    Of thunder bred;
    A poisèd Passion wrought from central breath
    Of whirling storms,
    And evermore a deathless life in death,
    That still re-forms.
    And thou, man's prototype in varying moods,
    Didst lonely beat
    The vacant shores and speechless solitudes
    With silver feet,
    Through the great seons wandering forlorn
    In search of him,
    As rose and fell like vacant flames, lone morn
    And evening dim,
    Ere light had grown articulate in love,
    Or silence knew
    Herself as worship. Then didst thou ever move
    Beneath the blue,
    An incommunicable mystery,
    About thy shore;
    A visible yearning of earth and sea,
    That evermore
    Flung out white arms to catch at some far good
    Yet unfulfilled,
    And failing sobbed and sank in solitude
    With heart unstilled;
    A voice that ever crying as of old
    In deserts dumb,
    With hollow tongue reverberate foretold
    A Life to come.

  20. A Green Wave

    by William Sharp

    Between the salt sea-send before
    And all the flowing gulfs behind,
    Half lifted by the rising wind,
    Half eager for the ungain'd shore,
    A great green wave of shining light
    Sweeps onward crowned with dazzling white:

    Above, the east wind shreds the sky
    With plumes from the grey clouds that fly.

  21. The Waves on the Sea-Shore

    by Aunt Effie

    Roll on, roll on, you restless waves,
    That toss about and roar;
    Why do you all run back again
    When you have reached the shore?

    Roll on, roll on, you noisy waves,
    Roll higher up the strand;
    How is it that you cannot pass
    That line of yellow sand?

    Make haste, or else the tide will turn;
    Make haste, you noisy sea;
    Roll quite across the bank, and then
    Far on across the lea.

    , "We may not dare," the waves reply:
    "That line of yellow sand
    Is laid along the shore to bound
    The waters and the land;

    "And all should keep to time and place,
    And all should keep to rule,
    Both waves upon the sandy shore,
    And little boys at school."

  22. The Sea Rolls Up

    by Annette Wynne

    The sea rolls up upon the land
    And plays a game along the sand;
    But when the children want to play
    The sea just laughs and runs away.

  23. The Rock and the Sand

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Long-lined, the foaming chargers of the sea
    Press onward in the sun, a glittering host,
    Tossing their plumes and breathing angrily.
    Long-lined, a seething ocean at their backs,
    They dash against the rocks. The flying spray
    Is like the smoke of battle, and the spume
    Is like the froth of men and beasts at bay,
    Driven to desperate daring. On and on
    The long attack is urged, and endlessly.

    Forever and forever, 'neath the moon
    That coldly views the onset; through the day
    As wheels the steady sun; in winter's blast
    And summer's brilliant burning,—still the clash
    Of angry waves upon the stolid rock,
    And still they fall defeated back again,
    And still the silent granite fronts the sea.

    Thus youth confronts the universe, his head
    Hold haughtily against the surge of fate,
    Ever defiant of the elements,
    Of time, or man, or death, or God Himself;
    Thus youth, in fancied power, in the pride
    Of ignorant inertness.

    Wiser they,
    The waves that know no victory, but still
    Acknowiedge no defeat. Unceasingly
    They ply their warfare, happy if a grain,
    A single grain of all the granite mass
    Is theirs for plunder at the weary end
    Of twelve months' battering; for so at last,
    Indubitably so, the rock is theirs,
    Its haughty head at level with the tide,
    Its massive battlements a drift of sand.

    And this I learn, now that my youth is gone.
    Ah, this I learn, and how beneath the yoke.
    God's waves are over me, and all my pride
    Is scattered grain by grain along the beach,
    Or swallowed in the caverns of the sea.

    But be it so; yes, beaten like the sand;
    Yes, spread abroad for all the winds to toss
    And the wide ocean to make sport withal,
    So be it; I am victor even yet.
    For where the rock was black, the sand is white;
    And where the rock was sullen, how the sun
    Sparkles upon the facets of the sand!
    And where the rock was lonely, children now
    Play merrily upon the sand's delights;
    And where the rock was shaken with shock
    Of constant battle, in the blessed peace
    Of all the bending heavens now the sand
    Lies glad and humble. It is better so;
    For youth is strong, but age is stronger still,
    Strong with the power of the sea itself,
    Pliant beneath the guiding hand of God.

  24. The Rock in the Sea

    by Henry Ames Blood

    They say that yonder rock once towered
    Upon a wide and grassy plain,
    Lord of the land, until the sea
    Usurped his green domain:
    Yet now remembering the fair scene
    Where once he reigned without endeavor,
    The great rock in the ocean stands
    And battles with the waves for ever.

    How oft, O rock, must visit thee
    Sweet visions of the ancient calm.
    All amorous with birds and bees,
    And odorous with balm!
    Ah me, the terrors of the time
    When the grim, wrinkled sea advances,
    And winds and waves with direful cries
    Arouse thee from thy happy trances!

    To no soft tryst they waken thee,
    No sunny scene of perfect rest,
    But to the raging sea's vanguard
    Thundering against thy breast:
    No singing birds are round thee now,
    But the wild wind, the roaring surges,
    And gladly would they hurl thee down
    And mock thee in eternal dirges.

    But be it thine to conquer them;
    And may thy firm enduring form
    Still frown upon the hurricane,
    Still grandly front the storm:
    And while the tall ships come and go,
    And come and go the generations,
    May thy proud presence yet remain
    A wonder unto all the nations.

    Sometime, perchance, O lonely rock,
    Thou may'st regain thine ancient seat,
    May'st see once more the meadow shine,
    And hear the pasture bleat:
    But ah, methinks even then thy breast
    Would stir and yearn with fond emotion,
    To meet once more in glorious war
    The roaring cohorts of the ocean.

  25. Wave-Music

    by Ruby Archer

    Waves, when learned ye your rhythm?
    Ye tides, your time?
    When the All-Father set
    The worlds a-chime
    Like tunéd bells, and all was harmony,
    From cycling spheres to atoms none may see?

    Or does My Lady Moon
    Hold you in leash,
    Weirdly recurrent theme
    Of her caprice—
    A wild grotesque of mammoth frolicking
    Whose only bound infinitude may bring?

  26. Sea Shells

  27. The Sea Shell

    by Arthur Weir

    'Tis a dainty shell, 'tis a fragile shell
    At my feet that the wild waves threw,
    And I send it thee, that its lips may tell
    In thine ear that my heart is true.

    It will tell thee how by the sunlit sea
    Pass the hours we were wont to share.
    On its pearl-pink lips is a kiss for thee
    That my own loving lips placed there.

    In a lady's hand it will snugly lie,
    'Tis as thin as a red rose-leaf,
    Yet it holds the seagull's sorrowing cry,
    And the roar of the tide,-lashed reef.

    In its ivory cave, though the mighty sea
    May find room, and to spare, to move,
    Yet this same sea shell that I send to thee
    Is too small to contain my love.

  28. Sea-Shell Murmurs

    by Eugene Lee-Hamilton

    The hollow sea-shell which for years hath stood
    On dusty shelves, when held against the ear
    Proclaims its stormy parent; and we hear
    The faint far murmur of the breaking flood.
    We hear the sea. The sea? It is the blood
    In our own veins, impetuous and near,
    And pulses keeping pace with hope and fear
    And with our feelings' ever shifting mood.

    Lo! in my heart I hear, as in a shell,
    The murmur of a world beyond the grave,
    Distinct, distinct, though faint and far it be.
    Thou fool; this echo is a cheat as well,—
    The hum of earthly instincts; and we crave
    A world unreal as the shell-heard sea.

  29. Appreciation

    by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

    To the sea-shell's spiral round
    'T is your heart that brings the sound:
    The soft sea-murmurs that you hear
    Within, are captured from your ear.

    You do poets and their song
    A grievous wrong,
    If your own soul does not bring
    To their high imagining
    As much beauty as they sing.

  30. Shell-Tints

    by John B. Tabb

    Sea-shell, whence the rainbow dyes,
    Flashing in thy sunset skies?
    Thou wast in the penal brine,
    When appeared the saving sign.
    "Yea; but when the bow was bended,
    Hope, that hung it in the sky,
    Down into the deep descended
    Where the starless shadows lie;
    And with tender touch of glory,
    Traced in living lines of love,
    On my lowly walls, the story
    Written in the heavens above."

  31. The Shell and the Heart

    by Ruby Archer

    Even as the shell doth glow
    To myriad tints of beauty
    Only upon that side
    Not buried in the sand
    But yielded to the magic
    Of the sun,—
    So will the heart take on
    Its fairest hues of joy—
    The radiance of being—
    Turned to that light ineffable
    Of love.

  32. The Tide

  33. High Tide

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Scarlet frock and golden curl—
    Such a very little girl—
    Bessie wanders up and down
    Where the seaweed lines are brown,
    Something plainly on her mind,
    Something she would like to find.
    Now, whatever can it be
    Bessie's seeking in the sea?
    So I ask the little maid,
    And she answers, half afraid:
    "Sir, high tide has come and gone;
    Where were all the strings tied on?"

  34. Tides

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Through the still dusk how sighs the ebb-tide out,
    Reluctant for the reed-beds! Down the sands
    It washes. Hark! Beyond the wan gray strand's
    Low limits how the winding channels grieve,
    Aware the evasive waters soon will leave
    Them void amid the waste of desolate lands,
    Where shadowless to the sky the marsh expands,
    And the noon-heats must scar them, and the drought.

    Yet soon for them the solacing tide returns
    To quench their thirst of longing. Ah, not so
    Works the stern law oar tides of life obey!
    Ebbing in the night-watches swift away,
    Scarce known ere fled forever is the flow;
    And in parched channel still the shrunk stream mourns.

  35. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    The tide rises, the tide falls,
    The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
    Along the sea-sands damp and brown
    The traveler hastens toward the town,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

    Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
    But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
    The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
    Efface the footprints in the sands,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

    The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
    Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
    The day returns, but nevermore
    Returns the traveler to the shore,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

  36. The Sound of the Sea

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
    And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
    I heard the first wave of the rising tide
    Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
    A voice out of the silence of the deep,
    A sound mysteriously multiplied
    As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
    Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.

    So comes to us at times, from the unknown
    And inaccessible solitudes of being,
    The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
    And inspirations, that we deem our own,
    Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
    Of things beyond our reason or control.

  37. Permanence

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The granite shore rebuked the sea:
    "Why do you vary hour by hour
    Changeful and restless? Look at me
    And learn how quiet matches power."

    The sea made answer to the shore:
    "Out from the water's boundless reign
    The land rose; I was here before.
    The shores will sink, but I remain."

    Then to the two a Voice replied:
    "Both sea and shore will fail and fall;
    I only evermore abide,
    The source and final home of all."

  38. When the Tide Comes in

    by Ruby Archer

    First the little boats that dream
    At their moorings on the bay
    Will begin to prance and seem
    Like a mettled horse at play,—
    Dipping, dancing, pirouetting,
    When the tide comes in.

    Then the earth will let the sea,
    With a million sweet alarms,
    Kiss her feet, embrace her knee,
    Ring her waist, enfold her arms,
    Half denying, half coquetting,
    When the tide comes in.

    Then the sea an awesome gift
    Strews about her ere he goes:
    Hoard of eerie things that drift
    Whence and whither no one knows,—
    Pirate spoil of dead and living—
    When the tide comes in.

    Bits of opal-glamored shell,
    Sea-weed bronze, white coral-spray,
    Things that with the mermaids dwell,
    Hints of wreckage far away,
    Flotsam, jetsam,—Oh, the giving
    When the tide comes in!

  39. The Miser

    by Ruby Archer

    I caught old Ocean this morning early
    Down on his knees on the shore.
    Shells were hung in his beard so curly,
    He was counting his golden store.

    He let it glitter between his fingers,
    Tossed it bright in his hand.
    No such wealth in the fabled Indies—
    Treasure of golden sand.

  40. To Little Wave

    by Ruby Archer

    O little wave, you come from far,
    Over the sky-line yonder.
    Why do you hurry across the bar
    And fight with the wind, I wonder?

    Can you be weary of ocean play?
    Did the big monsters follow?
    Were you afraid that a whale to-day
    Your little self would swallow?

    There, little wave, come close to land.
    Careful! I knew you'd stumble.
    There goes your curly head on the sand—
    Never you mind—don't grumble.

    Here are some playthings I've brought for you,—
    Buttercups, daisies, clover.
    Now you will stay? Lo—off to the blue!
    Gone is my little rover.

  41. The Life-tide

    by John B. Tabb

    Each wave that breaks upon the strand,
    How swift soe’er to spurn the sand
    And seek again the sea,
    Christ-like, within its lifted hand
    Must bear the stigma of the land
    For all eternity.

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