Here are my favorite poems about the ocean categorized:
- Short poems about the ocean
- Short poems about the sea and love
- Poems About the Ocean that rhyme
- Famous poems about the ocean
- Poems about the ocean and life
- Poems about the ocean and love
- Poems about the ocean and death
So if you want the best poems about the ocean, then you’re in the right place.
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Wave-Kissed Poems About the Ocean
Dive headfirst into the captivating splendor and sheer might of the ocean through the finest sea-themed poems, all nestled in one cozy corner for your delight!
We’ve got timeless pieces by renowned poets that encapsulate the grandeur and enigma of the big blue.
Alongside these are bite-sized poetry gems that bring to life the visual feast, the symphony, and the soul-stirring sentiments that only the ocean can inspire.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a spark of creativity, a tranquil refuge, or simply yearning for a more profound bond with Mother Nature, rest assured.
The poems about the ocean we’ve handpicked are bound to stir your soul and whisk you away on a poetic journey.
Ready to make a splash?
Let’s dive right in!
My #1 Favorite Poem About the Ocean
“The Ocean” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.
The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair.
Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity.
The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.
Why “The Ocean” Is My Favorite Poem About the Ocean
People are like the ocean–those who are boisterous are the shallow ones, while the silent, tranquil ones are those who carry deep thoughts and ideals with them.
Time and time again, nature has proven that the deepest parts of the ocean are more serene and holds a lot of secrecy, that’s why people dive deep to have a taste of these mysteries.
At the same time, while the ocean and death intertwined may sound weird but I understood why even seasoned poets write about these two together.
The waves that wash the shore may devour the sand but this doesn’t mean that the sand is lost forever, it just becomes a part of the deeper part of the ocean.
This goes the same way with death because for me, death is not the end of life, rather, it’s a part of it.
Short Poems About the Ocean
Prepare to embark on a poetic voyage across the boundless expanse of the ocean through these mesmerizing pocket-sized poems.
Get ready to be swept away by playful verses that paint vivid pictures of marine life, crashing waves, and endless adventures on the salty shores.
“Sea Calm” by Langston Hughes
How strangely still
The water is today,
It is not good
To be so still that way.
“Lost” by Carl Sandburg
Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor’s breast
And the harbor’s eyes.
“Seal Lullaby” by Rudyard Kipling
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.
“What Are Heavy?” by Christina Rossetti
What are heavy? Sea-sand and sorrow;
What are brief? Today and tomorrow;
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth;
What are deep? The ocean and truth.
“Song from Mardi” by Herman Melville
Like the fish of the bright and twittering fin,
Bright fish! diving deep as high soars the lark,
So, far, far, far, doth the maiden swim,
Wild song, wild light, in still ocean’s dark.
Short Poems About the Sea and Love
Dive into a poetic fusion of the sea and love, where the tides of emotion merge with the vastness of the ocean.
These enchanting verses will transport you to a world where love and the sea intertwine, evoking feelings of passion and the eternal ebb and flow of the heart.
“Sea Lyric” by William Stanley Braithwaite
Over the seas to-night, love,
Over the darksome deeps,
Over the seas to-night, love,
Slowly my vessel creeps.
Over the seas to-night, love,
Waking the sleeping foam—
Sailing away from thee, love,
Sailing from thee and home.
Over the seas to-night, love,
Dreaming beneath the spars—
Till in my dreams you shine, love,
Bright as the listening stars.
“Sea Longing” by Sara Teasdale
A thousand miles beyond this sun-steeped wall
Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand,
The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land
With the old murmur, long and musical;
The windy waves mount up and curve and fall,
And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow,
Tho’ I am inland far, I hear and know,
For I was born the sea’s eternal thrall.
I would that I were there and over me
The cold insistence of the tide would roll,
Quenching this burning thing men call the soul,
Then with the ebbing I should drift and be
Less than the smallest shell along the shoal,
Less than the sea-gulls calling to the sea.
“A Sea-Change” by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
Once in a year of wonder
I brought to you a dream,
And all your waves gave back to me
Only its gleam.
But now I come again, O Sea,
Under a changing sky,
And all your waves lie gray and still
As dreams that die.
“Voice of the Sea” by William Stanley Braithwaite
Voice of the sea that calls to me,
Heart of the woods my own heart loves,
I am part of your mystery—
Moved by the soul your own soul moves.
Dream of the stars in the night-sea’s dome,
Somewhere in your infinite space
After the years I will come home,
Back to your halls to claim my place.
Poems About the Ocean That Rhyme
Embark on a lyrical journey through the ocean’s depths with these delightful rhyming poems.
Let the playful rhythm and melodic verses carry you along the waves as you explore the beauty, mystery, and enchantment of the sea.
“Sea Slant” by Carl Sandburg
On up the sea slant,
On up the horizon,
This ship limps.
The bone of her nose fog-gray,
The heart of her sea-strong,
She came a long way,
She goes a long way.
On up the horizon,
On up the sea-slant,
She limps sea-strong, fog-gray.
She is a green-lit night gray.
She comes and goes in sea fog.
Up the horizon slant she limps.
“The Sea Wind” by Sara Teasdale
I am a pool in a peaceful place,
I greet the great sky face to face,
I know the stars and the stately moon
And the wind that runs with rippling shoon
But why does it always bring to me
The far-off, beautiful sound of the sea?
The marsh-grass weaves me a wall of green,
But the wind comes whispering in between,
In the dead of night when the sky is deep
The wind comes waking me out of sleep
Why does it always bring to me
The far-off, terrible call of the sea?
“Eternity” by George Marion McClellan
Rock me to sleep, ye waves, and drift my boat,
With undulations soft, far out to sea;
Perchance, where sky and wave wear one blue coat,
My heart shall find some hidden rest remote.
My spirit swoons, and all my senses cry
For ocean’s breast and covering of the sky.
Rock me to sleep, ye waves, and, outward bound,
Just let me drift far out toil and care,
Where lapping of the waves shall be the sound
Which, mingled with the winds that gently bear
Me on between a peaceful sea and sky,
To make my soothing, slumberous lullaby.
Thus drifting on and on upon thy breast,
My heart shall go to sleep and rest, and rest.
“It’s a Long Way” by William Stanley Braithwaite
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow
Over the sea-plains blue,—
But longer far has my heart to go
Before its dreams come true.
It’s work we must, and love we must,
And do the best we may,
And take the hope of dreams in trust
To keep us day by day.
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow—
But somewhere lies a shore—
Thus down the tide of Time shall flow
My dreams forevermore.
“The Sea Spirit” by Madison Julius Cawein
Ah me! I shall not waken soon
From dreams of such divinity!
A spirit singing ‘neath the moon
Wild sea-spray driven of the storm
Is not so wildly white as she,
Who beckoned with a foam-white arm
With eyes dark green, and golden-green
Long locks that rippled drippingly,
Out of the green wave she did lean
And sang; till Earth and Heaven seemed
A far, forgotten memory,
And more than Heaven in her who gleamed
Sleep, sweeter than love’s face or home;
And death’s immutability;
And music of the plangent foam,
Sweep over her! with all thy ships,
With all thy stormy tides, O sea!
The memory of immortal lips
Famous Poems About the Ocean
Hear the whispers of the ocean’s salt air through these renowned poems that have captured its essence in words.
From the poetic musings of celebrated writers to the evocative verses of literary legends, immerse yourself in the beauty and everlasting fascination of the sea.
“The Sea of Sunset” by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson
This is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!
Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails.
“By the Sea” by Emily Dickinson
I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.
And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.
But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,
And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion’s sleeve –
And then I started too.
And he – he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, – then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.
Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.
“A Life on the Ocean Wave” by Epes Sargent
A life on the ocean wave,
A home on the rolling deep;
Where the scattered waters rave,
And the winds their revels keep!
Like an eagle caged I pine
On this dull, unchanging shore:
O, give me the flashing brine,
The spray and the tempest’s roar!
Once more on the deck I stand,
Of my own swift-gliding craft:
Set sail! farewell to the land;
The gale follows fair abaft.
We shoot through the sparkling foam,
Like an ocean-bird set free,—
Like the ocean-bird, our home
We ’ll find far out on the sea.
The land is no longer in view,
The clouds have begun to frown;
But with a stout vessel and crew,
We ’ll say, Let the storm come down!
And the song of our hearts shall be,
While the winds and the waters rave,
A home on the rolling sea!
A life on the ocean wave!
“Sail Away” by Rabindranath Tagore
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our
pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean,
at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies,
free as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet?
Are there works still to do?
Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore
and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off,
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,
vanish into the night?
“John Marr and Other Sailors” by Herman Melville
Since as in night’s deck-watch ye show,
Why, lads, so silent here to me,
Your watchmate of times long ago?
Once, for all the darkling sea,
You your voices raised how clearly,
Striking in when tempest sung;
Hoisting up the storm-sail cheerly,
Life is storm–let storm! you rung.
Taking things as fated merely,
Childlike though the world ye spanned;
Nor holding unto life too dearly,
Ye who held your lives in hand–
Skimmers, who on oceans four
Petrels were, and larks ashore.
O, not from memory lightly flung,
Forgot, like strains no more availing,
The heart to music haughtier strung;
Nay, frequent near me, never staleing,
Whose good feeling kept ye young.
Like tides that enter creek or stream,
Ye come, ye visit me, or seem
Swimming out from seas of faces,
Alien myriads memory traces,
To enfold me in a dream!
I yearn as ye. But rafts that strain,
Parted, shall they lock again?
Twined we were, entwined, then riven,
Ever to new embracements driven,
Shifting gulf-weed of the main!
And how if one here shift no more,
Lodged by the flinging surge ashore?
Nor less, as now, in eve’s decline,
Your shadowy fellowship is mine.
Ye float around me, form and feature:–
Tattooings, ear-rings, love-locks curled;
Barbarians of man’s simpler nature,
Unworldly servers of the world.
Yea, present all, and dear to me,
Though shades, or scouring China’s sea.
Whither, whither, merchant-sailors,
Whitherward now in roaring gales?
Competing still, ye huntsman-whalers,
In leviathan’s wake what boat prevails?
And man-of-war’s men, whereaway?
If now no dinned drum beat to quarters
On the wilds of midnight waters–
Foemen looming through the spray;
Do yet your gangway lanterns, streaming,
Vainly strive to pierce below,
When, tilted from the slant plank gleaming,
A brother you see to darkness go?
But, gunmates lashed in shotted canvas,
If where long watch-below ye keep,
Never the shrill “All hands up hammocks!”
Breaks the spell that charms your sleep,
And summoning trumps might vainly call,
And booming guns implore–
A beat, a heart-beat musters all,
One heart-beat at heart-core.
It musters. But to clasp, retain;
To see you at the halyards main–
To hear your chorus once again!
“O Sea, That Knowest Thy Strength” by Effie Lee Newsome
Hast thou been known to sing,
O sea, that knowest thy strength?
Hast thou been known to sing?
Thy voice, can it rejoice?
Naught save great sorrowing,
To me, thy sounds incessant
Do express, naught save great sorrowing.
Thy lips, they daily kiss the sand,
In wanton mockery.
Deep in thine awful heart
Thou dost not love the land.
Thou dost not love the land.
O sea, that knowest thy strength.
“These sands, these listless, helpless,
Sun-gold sands, I’ll play with these,
Or crush them in my white-fanged hands
For leagues, to please
The thing in me that is the Sea,
Untamed and wild,
And wild and weird and strong!”
“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.
“Fins” by Carl Sandburg
Plow over bars of sea plowing,
the moon by moon work of the sea,
the plowing, sand and rock, must
Ride over, ride over bars of sea riding,
the sun and the blue riding of the sea—
sit in the saddles and say it, sea riders.
Slant up and go, silver breakers; mix
the high howls of your dancing; shoot
your laugh of rainbow foam tops.
Foam wings, fly; pick the comers, the fin pink,
the belly green, the blue rain sparks, the
white wave spit—fly, you foam wings.
The men of the sea are gone to work; the women
of the sea are off buying new hats, combs, clocks;
it is rust and gold on the roofs of the sea.
“The Sea” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Behold the Sea,
The opaline, the plentiful and strong,
Yet beautiful as is the rose in June,
Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July:
Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds,
Purger of earth, and medicine of men;
Creating a sweet climate by my breath,
Washing out harms and griefs from memory,
And, in my mathematic ebb and flow,
Giving a hint of that which changes not.
Rich are the sea-gods:—who gives gifts but they?
They grope the sea for pearls, but more than pearls:
They pluck Force thence, and give it to the wise.
For every wave is wealth to Dædalus,
Wealth to the cunning artist who can work
This matchless strength. Where shall he find, O waves!
A load your Atlas shoulders cannot lift?
I with my hammer pounding evermore
The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust,
Strewing my bed, and, in another age,
Rebuild a continent of better men.
Then I unbar the doors: my paths lead out
The exodus of nations: I disperse
Men to all shores that front the hoary main.
Poems About the Ocean and Life
Set sail on a poetic odyssey where the vast expanse of the ocean becomes a metaphor for the journey of life.
These mesmerizing verses invite you to contemplate the complexities, emotions, and profound experiences that shape our existence, leaving you with a renewed sense of introspection.
“The Ocean of Song” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In a land beyond sight or conceiving,
In a land where no blight is, no wrong,
No darkness, no graves, and no grieving,
There lies the great ocean of song.
And its waves, oh, its waves unbeholden
By any save gods, and their kind,
Are not blue, are not green, but are golden,
Like moonlight and sunlight combined.
It was whispered to me that their waters
Were made from the gathered-up tears
That were wept by the sons and the daughters
Of long-vanished eras and spheres.
Like white sands of heaven the spray is
That falls all the happy day long,
And whoever it touches straightway is
Made glad with the spirit of song.
Up, up to the clouds where their hoary
Crowned heads melt away in the skies,
The beautiful mountains of glory
Each side of the song-ocean rise.
Here day is one splendour of sky-light –
Of God’s light with beauty replete.
Here night is not night, but is twilight,
Pervading, enfolding, and sweet.
Bright birds from all climes and all regions,
That sing the whole glad summer long,
Are dumb, till they flock here in legions
And lave in the ocean of song.
It is here that the four winds of heaven,
The winds that do sing and rejoice,
It is here they first came and were given
The secret of sound and a voice.
Far down along beautiful beeches,
By night and by glorious day,
The throng of the gifted ones reaches,
Their foreheads made white with the spray,
And a few of the sons and the daughters
Of this kingdom, cloud-hidden from sight,
Go down in the wonderful waters,
And bathe in those billows of light.
And their souls evermore are like fountains,
And liquid and lucent and strong,
High over the tops of the mountains
Gush up the sweet billows of song.
No drouth-time of waters can dry them.
Whoever has bathed in that sea,
All dangers, all deaths, they defy them,
And are gladder than gods are, with glee.
“The Ocean’s Song” by Victor-Marie Hugo
We walked amongst the ruins famed in story
And saw the boundless waters stretch in glory
And heave in power.
O Ocean vast! We heard thy song with wonder,
Whilst waves marked time.
“Appear, O Truth!” thou sang’st with tone of thunder,
“And shine sublime!
“The world’s enslaved and hunted down by beagles,
To despots sold.
Souls of deep thinkers, soar like mighty eagles!
The Right uphold.
“Be born! arise! o’er the earth and wild waves bounding,
Peoples and suns!
Let darkness vanish; tocsins be resounding,
And flash, ye guns!
“And you who love no pomps of fog or glamour,
Who fear no shocks,
Brave foam and lightning, hurricane and clamour,–
Exiles: the rocks!”
“Seaside” by Rupert Brooke
Swiftly out from the friendly lilt of the band,
The crowd’s good laughter, the loved eyes of men,
I am drawn nightward; I must turn again
Where, down beyond the low untrodden strand,
There curves and glimmers outward to the unknown
The old unquiet ocean. All the shade
Is rife with magic and movement. I stray alone
Here on the edge of silence, half afraid,
Waiting a sign. In the deep heart of me
The sullen waters swell towards the moon,
And all my tides set seaward.
Leaps a gay fragment of some mocking tune,
That tinkles and laughs and fades along the sand,
And dies between the seawall and the sea.
“The Fisher’s Boy” by Henry David Thoreau
My life is like a stroll upon the beach,
As near the ocean’s edge as I can go;
My tardy steps its waves sometimes o’erreach,
Sometimes I stay to let them overflow.
My sole employment is, and scrupulous care,
To place my gains beyond the reach of tides,—
Each smoother pebble, and each shell more rare,
Which Ocean kindly to my hand confides.
I have but few companions on the shore:
They scorn the strand who sail upon the sea;
Yet oft I think the ocean they’ve sailed o’er
Is deeper known upon the strand to me.
The middle sea contains no crimson dulse,
Its deeper waves cast up no pearls to view;
Along the shore my hand is on its pulse,
And I converse with many a shipwrecked crew.
“A Grey Day” by William Vaughn Moody
Grey drizzling mists the moorlands drape,
Rain whitens the dead sea,
From headland dim to sullen cape
Grey sails creep wearily.
I know not how that merchantman
Has found the heart; but ’tis her plan
Seaward her endless course to shape.
Unreal as insects that appall
A drunkard’s peevish brain,
O’er the grey deep the dories crawl,
Four-legged, with rowers twain:
Midgets and minims of the earth,
Across old ocean’s vasty girth
I wonder how that merchant’s crew
Have ever found the will!
I wonder what the fishers do
To keep them toiling still!
I wonder how the heart of man
Has patience to live out its span,
Or wait until its dreams come true.
“Sea Reverie” by Abram Joseph Ryan
Strange Sea! why is it that you never rest?
And tell me why you never go to sleep?
Thou art like one so sad and sin-oppressed —
(And the waves are the tears you weep) —
And thou didst never sin — what ails the sinless deep?
To-night I hear you crying on the beach,
Like a weary child on its mother’s breast —
A cry with an infinite and lonesome reach
Of unutterably deep unrest;
And thou didst never sin — why art thou so distressed?
But, ah, sad Sea! the mother’s breast is warm,
Where crieth the lone and the wearied child;
And soft the arms that shield her own from harm;
And her look is unutterably mild —
But to-night, O Sea! thy cry is wild, so wild!
What ails thee, Sea? The midnight stars are bright —
How safe they lean on heaven’s sinless breast!
O Sea! is the beach too hard, tho’ e’er so white,
To give thy utter weariness a rest?
(And to-night the winds are a-coming from the West).
Poems About the Ocean and Love
Indulge in the poetic depths as wordsmiths delve into the recesses of their hearts, crafting verses that will make your emotions dance and your soul set sail.
Get ready to be swept away by a poetic journey where the mysteries of the sea meet the tender whispers of affection, leaving you spellbound and yearning for poetic shores.
“How Like the Sea” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
How like the sea, the myriad-minded sea,
Is this large love of ours: so vast, so deep,
So full of myseries! it, too, can keep
Its secrets, like the ocean; and is free,
Free, as the boundless main. Now it may be
Calm like the brow of some sweet child asleep;
Again its seething billows surge and leap
And break in fulness of their ecstasy.
Each wave so like the wave which came before,
Yet never two the same! Imperative
And then persuasive as the cooing dove,
Encroaching ever on the yielding shore—
Ready to take; yet readier still to give—
How like the myriad-minded sea, is love.
“Twilight at Sea” by Amelia B. Welby
The twilight hours, like birds, flew by,
As lightly and as free,
Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
Ten thousand on the sea;
For every wave, with dimpled face,
That leaped upon the air,
Had caught a star in its embrace,
And held it trembling there.
“Sea-Shore Musings” by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon
How oft I’ve longed to gaze on thee,
Thou proud and mighty deep!
Thy vast horizon, boundless, free,
Thy coast so rude and steep;
And now entranced I breathless stand,
Where earth and ocean meet,
Whilst billows wash the golden sand,
And break around my feet.
Lovely thou art when dawn’s red light
Sheds o’er thee its soft hue,
Showing fair ships, a gallant sight,
Upon thy waters blue;
And when the moonbeams softly pour
Their light on wave or glen,
And diamond spray leaps on the shore,
How lovely art thou then!
Still, as I look, faint shadows steal
O’er thy calm heaving breast,
And there are times, I sadly feel,
Thou art not thus at rest;
And I bethink me of past tales,
Of ships that left the shore,
And meeting with thy fearful gales,
Have ne’er been heard of more.
They say thy depths hold treasures rare,
Groves coral – sands of gold –
Pearls fitted for a monarch’s wear
And gems of worth untold;
But these could not to life restore
The idol of one home,
Nor make brave hearts beat high once more
That sleep beneath thy foam.
But I must chase such thoughts away,
They mar this happy hour,
Remembering thou dost but obey
Thy Great Creator’s, power;
And in my own fair inland home,
Mysterious, moaning main,
In dreams I’ll see thy snow-white foam
And frowning rocks again.
“The Sea Maid” by John Le Gay Brereton
In what pearl-paven mossy cave
By what green sea
Art thou reclining, virgin of the wave,
In realms more full of splendid mystery
Than that strong northern flood whence came
The rise and fall of music in thy name
Thy waiting name, Oithona!
The magic of the sea’s own change
In depth and height,
From where the eternal order’d billows range
To unknown regions of sleep-weary night,
Fills, like a wonder-waking spell
Whispered by lips of some lone-murmuring shell,
Thy dreaming soul, Oithona.
In gladness of thy reverie
What gracious form
Will fly the errand of our love to thee,
By ways with winged messengers aswarm
Through dawn of opalescent skies,
To say the time is come and bid thee rise
And be our child, Oithona?
“Through Time and Bitter Distance” by Emily Pauline Johnson
Unknown to you, I walk the cheerless shore.
The cutting blast, the hurl of biting brine,
May freeze, and still, and bind the waves at war,
Ere you will ever know, O! Heart of mine,
That I have sought, reflected in the blue
Of these sea depths, some shadow of your eyes;
Have hoped the laughing waves would sing of you,
But this is all my starving sight descries—
Far out at sea a sail
Bends to the freshening breeze,
Yields to the rising gale,
That sweeps the seas;
Yields, as a bird wind-tossed,
To saltish waves that fling
Their spray, whose rime and frost
Like crystals cling
To canvas, mast and spar,
Till, gleaming like a gem,
She sinks beyond the far
Lost to my longing sight,
And nothing left to me
Save an oncoming night,—
An empty sea.
“The Wind Sleepers” by Hilda Doolittle
than the crust
left by the tide,
we are stung by the hurled sand
and the broken shells.
We no longer sleep
in the wind—
we awoke and fled
through the city gate.
tear us an altar,
tug at the cliff-boulders,
pile them with the rough stones—
we no longer
sleep in the wind,
Chant in a wail
that never halts,
pace a circle and pay tribute
with a song.
When the roar of a dropped wave
breaks into it,
pour meted words
of sea-hawks and gull
sand sea-birds that cry
Poems About the Ocean and Death
Discover the mesmerizing verses that explore the depths of the sea and the mysteries of mortality.
Ponder the profound connection between life’s fragility and the eternal vastness of the ocean with these verses that weave a captivating tapestry of emotions.
“Crossing the Bar” by Lord Tennyson Alfred
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
“Ocean of Forms” by Rabindranath Tagore
I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms,
hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.
No more sailing from harbor to harbor with this my weather-beaten boat.
The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.
And now I am eager to die into the deathless.
Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss
where swells up the music of toneless strings
I shall take this harp of my life.
I shall tune it to the notes of forever,
and when it has sobbed out its last utterance,
lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.
“Moonrise at Sea” by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Up from the dark the moon begins to creep;
And now a pallid, haggard face lifts she
Above the water-line: thus from the deep
A drownéd body rises solemnly.
“Fog” by Robert Hillyer
Where does the sea end and the sky begin?
We sink in blue for which there is no word.
Two sails, fog-coloured, loiter on the thin
Mirage of ocean.
There is no sound of wind, nor wave, nor bird,
Nor any motion.
Except the shifting mists that turn and lift,
Showing behind the two limp sails a third,
Then blotting it again.
A gust, a spattering of rain,
The lazy water breaks in nervous rings.
Somewhere a bleak bell buoy sings,
Muffled at first, then clear,
Its wet, grey monotone.
The dead are here.
We are not quite alone.
“For Joseph Conrad” by Countee Cullen
Not of the dust, but of the wave
His final couch should be;
They lie not easy in a grave
Who once have known the sea.
How shall earth’s meagre bed enthrall
The hardiest seaman of them all?
“Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd” by Walt Whitman
Out of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently to me,
Whispering I love you, before long I die,
I have travel’d a long way, merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look’d on you,
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you.
Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated,
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us,
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever;
Be not impatient—a little space—know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love.
“Loss” by Hilda Doolittle
The sea called—
you faced the estuary,
you were drowned as the tide passed.—
I am glad of this—
at least you have escaped.
The heavy sea-mist stifles me.
I choke with each breath—
a curious peril, this—
the gods have invented
curious torture for us.
One of us, pierced in the flank,
dragged himself across the marsh,
he tore at the bay-roots,
lost hold on the crumbling bank—
Another crawled—too late—
for shelter under the cliffs.
I am glad the tide swept you out,
you of all this ghastly host
your white flesh covered with salt
as with myrrh and burnt iris.
We were hemmed in this place,
so few of us, so few of us to fight
their sure lances,
the straight thrust—effortless
with slight life of muscle and shoulder.
So straight—only we were left,
the four of us—somehow shut off.
And the marsh dragged one back,
and another perished under the cliff,
and the tide swept you out.
Your feet cut steel on the paths,
I followed for the strength
of life and grasp.
I have seen beautiful feet
but never beauty welded with strength.
I marvelled at your height.
You stood almost level
with the lance-bearers
and so slight.
And I wondered as you clasped
at the strength of your wrist
and the turn of your young fingers,
and the lift of your shorn locks,
and the bronze
of your sun-burnt neck.
All of this,
and the curious knee-cap,
fitted above the wrought greaves,
and the sharp muscles of your back
which the tunic could not cover—
no garment could deface.
I wonder if you knew how I watched,
how I crowded before the spearsmen—
but the gods wanted you,
the gods wanted you back.