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By The Sea -- Christina Rossetti

Another, and somewhat different set of sea poems.
(Poem #140) By The Sea
 Why does the sea moan evermore?
       Shut out from heaven it makes its moan,
 It frets against the boundary shore;
       All earth's full rivers cannot fill
       The sea, that drinking thirsteth still.

 Sheer miracles of loveliness
       Lie hid in its unlooked-on bed:
 Anemones, salt, passionless,
       Blow flower-like; just enough alive
       To blow and multiply and thrive.

 Shells quaint with curve, or spot, or spike,
       Encrusted live things argus-eyed,
 All fair alike, yet all unlike,
       Are born without a pang, and die
       Without a pang, and so pass by.
-- Christina Rossetti
This is a somewhat disconnected poem - there seems to be a distinct break
between the first verse and the rest of it. The first verse seems rather
conventional, too - the imagery is neither particularly original, nor
particularly well-phrased, and the word 'thirsteth' is enough out of place
that it jars. However, the next two verses present a decidedly different
slant; a viewpoint more reminiscent of the 'English countryside' class of
nature poetry than of most of the sea poems I've read, and very much in
keeping with her appreciation of the quieter side of nature. And the last
two lines, of course, are pure Rossetti, with the 'go gentle into that good
night' theme that characterizes so many of her poems.


Biography etc: See Minstrels Poem #8

41 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Betty said...

The shape of the the sea is changing with time!
No matter how it changes, the essence is the sea.
It displays the emotion of the natue associate with the human being.
Life needs go on over and over whether we are!

Unknown said...

what is this poem about? what is the theme?

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Do you have more poems about the sea, it's my favorite lyrical theme due it's psychological implications.

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