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O Sea, why art thou fair?
John M. Broadhead 1989 (California)
Upon a beach I musing stood and breath’d the clean salt air,
And fill’d with joy and madness cried: “o sea, why art thou fair?
How is it that your voice enthralls and lures us to your lap,
Why draw in hapless mariners, confounding any map?
Since days of old you are to men a god, a friend, a foeman.
This mystery is plain to me: o sea, thou art a woman!
With fond caresses of thy hand you flirt upon the shore,
To clutch wet feet with fingers fresh and make our longing sore.
The sound of surf puts shivers through the silence of our souls,
Like sigh of singing Syrens sweet, it draws us from the shoals.
The sea-breeze on our faces calls us always to the ships,
To find where breeze must have its source in playful wat’ry lips.
We gaze at you and in our hearts rise mem’ries we know not,
Of Kraken, crab, and distant coast that men of old have sought.
Like Marco Polo, Christopher, Magellan, Shackleton,
With Sinbad, Blackbeard, Eriksson, and wand’ring Ithacan,
We scorn all earthly trivial things and bravely seek your heart -
Not knowing how or where to look, we foolishly depart.
O sea you draw us many ways, and all paths lead to you,
So when we are cut off from hope, your mischief starts to brew.
For one day don you waters smooth and paint your face so bright,
It comes a shock when, on your whim, the waves display your might.
Then lightning flash and wooden crack force us down on our knees,
To pay respect to maiden’s wrath that tortures, drowns or frees.
At storm’s end those who did not die are wiser to your ways,
But teasing breath you cease to blow, so safe your secret stays.
Alive or dead the men beguil’d are slaves forevermore;
Small thanks you give to hearty men who did your snares adore.
Tell me what horrid sins did men commit against the sea,
That she seduces by her charm then torments us with glee?”
And fill’d with thoughts of vengeful hate I turnéd on the Ocean,
But faster than my fury, she my heartstrings set in motion.
Then nostrils surg’d in anger but took in a lovely draft,
As heart and brain strove violently, while lustrous sea-maid laugh’d.
In rage and fierce desire for her, to conquer out I set,
And brav’d the monstrous wat’ry blue, but came out merely wet.
Written on February 02, 2010
Submitted by JohnsMusings on June 11, 2022
Modified on March 05, 2023
- 2:15 min read
- 6 Views
|Scheme||AABBCC DDEEFF GXCCHH IIJJKK LLADMM CCXGNN|
|Closest metre||Iambic heptameter|
|Stanza Lengths||6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6|
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"O Sea, why art thou fair?" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Jun 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/129783/o-sea,-why-art-thou-fair?>.
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