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The Wind and the Sea -- Paul Lawrence Dunbar

       
(Poem #1275) The Wind and the Sea
 I stood by the shore at the death of day,
     As the sun sank flaming red;
 And the face of the waters that spread away
   Was as gray as the face of the dead.

 And I heard the cry of the wanton sea
   And the moan of the wailing wind;
 For love's sweet pain in his heart had he,
   But the gray old sea had sinned.

 The wind was young and the sea was old,
   But their cries went up together;
 The wind was warm and the sea was cold,
   For age makes wintry weather.

 So they cried aloud and they wept amain,
   Till the sky grew dark to hear it;
 And out of its folds crept the misty rain,
   In its shroud, like a troubled spirit.

 For the wind was wild with a hopeless love,
   And the sea was sad at heart
 At many a crime that he wot of,
   Wherein he had played his part.

 He thought of the gallant ships gone down
   By the will of his wicked waves;
 And he thought how the churchyard in the town
   Held the sea-made widows' graves.

 The wild wind thought of the love he had left
   Afar in an Eastern land,
 And he longed, as long the much bereft,
   For the touch of her perfumed hand.

 In his winding wail and his deep-heaved sigh
   His aching grief found vent;
 While the sea looked up at the bending sky
   And murmured: "I repent."

 But e'en as he spoke, a ship came by,
   That bravely ploughed the main,
 And a light came into the sea's green eye,
   And his heart grew hard again.

 Then he spoke to the wind: "Friend, seest thou not
   Yon vessel is eastward bound?
 Pray speed with it to the happy spot
   Where thy loved one may be found."

 And the wind rose up in a dear delight,
   And after the good ship sped;
 But the crafty sea by his wicked might
   Kept the vessel ever ahead.

 Till the wind grew fierce in his despair,
   And white on the brow and lip.
 He tore his garments and tore his hair,
   And fell on the flying ship.

 And the ship went down, for a rock was there,
   And the sailless sea loomed black;
 While burdened again with dole and care,
   The wind came moaning back.

 And still he moans from his bosom hot
   Where his raging grief lies pent,
 And ever when the ships come not,
   The sea says: "I repent."
-- Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Today's wonderfully and darkly whimsical fairytale of a poem took me
completely by surprise - my eye was caught by the striking opening verse,
but that led me to expect a very different sort of poem, something more
along the lines of Lampman or Poe.

I love the way the tone gradually shifts as the poem progresses. Dunbar
subtly injects personalities into the wind and the sea, so that what seems
at first like metaphor becomes personification, and the focus moves from the
"I" of the first verse to the wind and the sea themselves. And with that
transition, the language acquires a definite touch of whimsy, and what I can
only describe as a "children's story" sort of phrasing, until by its end the
poem is totally fantastic. .

Also, not being too familiar with Dunbar's work aside from a few pieces
seen in other anthologies, it was nice to discover how versatile he could
be. His work is not uniformly good, of course, and his dialect poems get
annoying (as dialect poems are ever wont to do), but reading several of his
poems in succession was definitely a pleasant experience.

martin

34 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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Ice Dragon said...

Bạn muốn ship hàng nội thành hà nội hay ship hàng nội thành tphcm. Hãy đến thử sử dụng dịch vụ của chúng tôi.
Vì sao bạn nên chọn chúng tôi? Vì chúng tôi có kinh nghiệm trong lĩnh vực này, chúng tôi làm việc theo 1 quy trình nghiêm ngặt. Ngoài 2 dịch vụ kể trên chúng tôi còn nhận gửi hàng đi đà nẵng, gửi hàng đi Hà Nội. Ngoài ra chúng tôi còn có các dịch bốc xếp hàng hóa cho thuê kho bãi, nếu bạn cần thuê kho ở trung tâm tphcm hãy sử dịch vụ cho thuê kho quận 10 của chúng tôi.

Anonymous said...

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