Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

Rate this poem:(3.00 / 1 vote)

The Ocean

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson 1832 (Kvikne) – 1910 (Paris)

... Oceanward I am ever yearning,
Where far it rolls in its calm and grandeur,
The weight of mountain-like fogbanks bearing,
Forever wandering and returning.
The skies may lower, the land may call it,
It knows no resting and knows no yielding.
In nights of summer, in storms of winter,
Its surges murmur the self-same longing.

Yes, oceanward I am ever yearning,
Where far is lifted its broad, cold forehead!
Thereon the world throws its deepest shadow
And mirrors whispering all its anguish.
Though warm and blithesome the bright sun stroke it
With joyous message, that life is gladness,
Yet ice-cold, changelessly melancholy,
It drowns the sorrow and drowns the solace.

The full moon pulling, the tempest lifting,
Must loose their hold on the flowing water.
Down whirling lowlands and crumbling mountains
It to eternity tireless washes.
What forth it draws must the one way wander.
What once is sunken arises never.
No message comes thence, no cry is heard thence;
Its voice, its silence, can none interpret.

Yes, toward the ocean, far out toward ocean,
That knows no hour of self-atonement!
For all that suffer release it offers,
But trails forever its own enigma.
A strange alliance with Death unites it,
That all it give Him,--itself excepting!

I feel, vast Ocean, thy solemn sadness,
To thee abandon my weak devices,
To thee let fly all my anxious longings:
May thy cool breath to my heart bring healing!
Let Death now follow, his booty seeking:
The moves are many before the checkmate!
Awhile I'll harass thy love of plunder,
As on I scud 'neath thy angry eyebrows;
Thou only fillest my swelling mainsail,
Though Death ride fast on thy howling tempest;
Thy billows raging shall bear the faster
My little vessel to quiet waters.

Ah! Thus alone at the helm in darkness,
By all forsaken, by Death forgotten,
When sails unknown far away are wafted
And some swift-coursing by night are passing,
To note the ground-swell's resistless current,
The sighing heart of the breathing ocean --
Or small waves plashing along the planking,
Its quiet pastime amid its sadness.
Then glide my lingering longings over
Into the ocean-deep grief of nature,
The night's, the water's united coldness
Prepares my spirit for death's dark dwelling.

Then comes day's dawning! My soul bounds upward
On beams of light to the vault of heaven;
My ship-steed sniffing its flank is laving
With buoyant zest in the cooling billow.
With song the sailor to masthead clambers
To clear the sail that shall swell more freely,
And thoughts are flying like birds aweary
Round mast and yard-arm, but find no refuge. ...
Yes, toward the ocean! To follow Vikar!
To sail like him and to sink as he did,
For great King Olaf the prow defending!
With keel unswerving the cold thought cleaving,
But hope deriving from lightest breezes!
Death's eager fingers so near the rudder,
While heaven's clearness the way illumines!

And then at last in the final hour
To feel the bolts and the nails are yielding
And Death is pressing the seams asunder,
That in may stream the absolving water!
Wet winding-sheets shall be folded round me,
And I descend to eternal silence,
While rolling billows my name bear shoreward
In spacious nights 'neath the cloudless moonlight!

Font size:
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:46 min read
118 Views

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer who received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit", becoming the first Norwegian Nobel laureate. Bjørnson is considered to be one of The Four Greats (De Fire Store) among Norwegian writers, the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland. Bjørnson is also celebrated for his lyrics to the Norwegian National Anthem, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet". more…

All Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson poems | Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Books

FAVORITE (1 fan)

Discuss this Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "The Ocean" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/4420/the-ocean>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    Who wrote the poem "O Captain! My Captain!"?
    • A. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    • B. Ezra Pound
    • C. Emily Dickinson
    • D. Walt Whitman

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »