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A Sea Dirge -- Lewis Carroll

Guest poem submitted by Erin Mansell , in response to our
"Sea Poems" theme from a few weeks ago:
(Poem #1014) A Sea Dirge
 There are certain things--as, a spider, a ghost,
   The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three--
 That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
      Is a thing they call the Sea.

 Pour some salt water over the floor--
   Ugly I'm sure you'll allow it to be:
 Suppose it extended a mile or more,
      That's very like the Sea.

 Beat a dog till it howls outright--
   Cruel, but all very well for a spree:
 Suppose that he did so day and night,
      That would be like the Sea.

 I had a vision of nursery-maids;
   Tens of thousands passed by me--
 All leading children with wooden spades,
      And this was by the Sea.

 Who invented those spades of wood?
   Who was it cut them out of the tree?
 None, I think, but an idiot could--
      Or one that loved the Sea.

 It is pleasant and dreamy, no doubt, to float
   With "thoughts as boundless, and souls as free":
 But, suppose you are very unwell in the boat,
      How do you like the Sea?

 There is an insect that people avoid
   (Whence is derived the verb "to flee").
 Where have you been by it most annoyed?
      In lodgings by the Sea.

 If you like your coffee with sand for dregs,
   A decided hint of salt in your tea,
 And a fishy taste in the very eggs--
      By all means choose the Sea.

 And if, with these dainties to drink and eat,
   You prefer not a vestige of grass or tree,
 And a chronic state of wet in your feet,
      Then--I recommend the Sea.

 For I have friends who dwell by the coast--
   Pleasant friends they are to me!
 It is when I am with them I wonder most
      That anyone likes the Sea.

 They take me a walk: though tired and stiff,
   To climb the heights I madly agree;
 And, after a tumble or so from the cliff,
      They kindly suggest the Sea.

 I try the rocks, and I think it cool
   That they laugh with such an excess of glee,
 As I heavily slip into every pool
      That skirts the cold cold Sea.
-- Lewis Carroll
I have been cursing for the last week or so this stint on the sea so I went
in search of some levity on the subject and feel compelled to forward this
to you. I could find very little information on this particular poem but I
felt if I had to see one more line on the sea it had better be funny. Enjoy!

Erin.

[Minstrels Links]

Lewis Carroll:
Poem #52, Jabberwocky
Poem #265, The Mad Gardener's Song
Poem #347, The Walrus and the Carpenter
Poem #409, Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur
Poem #600, The Mouse's Tale
Poem #935, The Lobster Quadrille
Poem #964, How Doth the Little Crocodile

The cold cold Sea:
Poem #27, Sea Fever  -- John Masefield
Poem #29, The Sea and the Hills  -- Rudyard Kipling
Poem #31, Break, break, break  -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Poem #74, Cargoes  -- John Masefield
Poem #93, EƤrendil was a mariner  -- J. R. R. Tolkien
Poem #109, The Viking Terror  -- Anon. (Irish, 9th century)
Poem #114, The Soul Cages  -- Gordon Matthew 'Sting' Sumner
Poem #140, By The Sea  -- Christina Rossetti
Poem #141, The City in the Sea  -- Edgar Allan Poe
Poem #143, Harp Song of the Dane Women  -- Rudyard Kipling
Poem #145, Ice  -- Anon. (Old English, 10th century)
Poem #161, The Yarn of the Nancy Bell  -- W. S. Gilbert
Poem #326, The Seafarer  -- Anon. (Old English, pre-10th century
Poem #431, Sea Love  -- Charlotte Mew
Poem #522, In Harbor  -- Constantine Cavafy
Poem #657, The Dark and Turbulent Sea -- Stephen Dobyns
Poem #717, The Wreck of the Hesperus -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poem #758, Sea-Change -- John Masefield
Poem #775, The Maldive Shark -- Herman Melville
Poem #896, The Kraken -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Poem #903, Leviathan -- Anon.
Poem #935, The Lobster Quadrille -- Lewis Carroll
Poem #984, On the Beach at Night -- Walt Whitman
Poem #985, Once by the Pacific -- Robert Frost
Poem #986, A Grave -- Marianne Moore
Poem #987, Prayer -- Carol Ann Duffy
Poem #988, The Idea of Order at Key West -- Wallace Stevens
Poem #989, The Lotos-Eaters -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Poem #990, Sea Calm -- Langston Hughes
Poem #991, Seascape -- Stephen Spender

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