SEAS & OCEANS
From: Rivers to the Sea by Sara Teasdale -- "Sea Longing"
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.”
From: Common Things of the Sea-Coast by Anne Pratt written in 1853. The Internet Archive
It is delightful on some fine summer's morning to wake up to the loud continuous sounds of the waves, and to stray along the shore, with eye and heart alive to the natural beauty of this world. When the calm airs seem, as the poet describes them,
"Like Music slumbering on its instrument,"
they are to the listener both sweet and soothing, and serve -- we know not how or why -- to awaken memories of the past, and so to identify themselves with our own being, that scenes far away, and long absent friends, gradually mingle in the daydreams begotten by their tones.
The glorious ocean! Can we wonder that lingering groups gather daily close by its boundaries gazing hour after hour upon the silver waves? Call them not idlers. They may have come from scenes of busy toil for needful repose, and while listening to sweet sounds, and looking on lovely objects, they are getting treasures of memory for other days, and store of health and strength for future duty.
What thoughtful person ever listened to the ocean's murmurs without thinking over what a mass of contents its waters roll: -
"Bones of dead men that made
A hidden Golgotha where they had fall'n,
Unseen, unsepulchred, but not unwept
By lover, friends, relation far away,
Long waiting their return to home and country,
And going down into their fathers' graves,
With their grey hairs or youthful locks, in sorrow,
To meet no more till seas give up their dead;
Some, too, -- ay thousands, -- whom no living mourn'd,
None miss'd, waifs in the universe, the last
Lorn links of kindred chains for ever sauder'd."