Treasure Island

Oliver Wendell Holmes

(1809-1894 / United States)

A Sea Dialogue


Cabin Passenger:
FRIEND, you seem thoughtful. I not wonder much
That he who sails the ocean should be sad.
I am myself reflective. When I think
Of all this wallowing beast, the Sea, has sucked
Between his sharp, thin lips, the wedgy waves,
What heaps of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls;
What piles of shekels, talents, ducats, crowns,
What bales of Tyrian mantles, Indian shawls,
Of laces that have blanked the weavers' eyes,
Of silken tissues, wrought by worm and man,
The half-starved workman, and the well-fed worm;
What marbles, bronzes, pictures, parchments, books;
What many-lobuled, thought-engendering brains;
Lie with the gaping sea-shells in his maw,--
I, too, am silent; for all language seems
A mockery, and the speech of man is vain.
O mariner, we look upon the waves
And they rebuke our babbling. 'Peace!' they say,--
'Mortal, be still!' My noisy tongue is hushed,
And with my trembling finger on my lips
My soul exclaims in ecstasy--

MAN AT WHEEL.
Belay!

CABIN PASSENGER.
Ah yes! 'Delay,'--it calls, 'nor haste to break
The charm of stillness with an idle word!'
O mariner, I love thee, for thy thought
Strides even with my own, nay, flies before.
Thou art a brother to the wind and wave;
Have they not music for thine ear as mine,
When the wild tempest makes thy ship his lyre,
Smiting a cavernous basso from the shrouds
And climbing up his gamut through the stays,
Through buntlines, bowlines, ratlines, till it shrills
An alto keener than the locust sings,
And all the great Aeolian orchestra
Storms out its mad sonata in the gale?
Is not the scene a wondrous and--

MAN AT WHEEL.
A vast!

CABIN PASSENGER.
Ah yes, a vast, a vast and wondrous scene!
I see thy soul is open as the day
That holds the sunshine in its azure bowl
To all the solemn glories of the deep.
Tell me, O mariner, dost thou never feel
The grandeur of thine office,--to control
The keel that cuts the ocean like a knife
And leaves a wake behind it like a seam
In the great shining garment of the world?

MAN AT WHEEL.
Belay y'r jaw, y' swab! y' hoss-marine!
(To the Captain.)
Ay, ay, Sir! Stiddy, Sir! Sou'wes' b' sou'!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Sea Dialogue by Oliver Wendell Holmes )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. EVERY POEM HAS ITS PHILOSOPHER AND ITS P.., MOHAMMAD SKATI
  2. Going to meet an end, gajanan mishra
  3. Helen Keller, Kyle Schlicher
  4. Insignificant, Kyle Schlicher
  5. I Watch The Ants, Kyle Schlicher
  6. Feel sorry, gajanan mishra
  7. Marmalade Mountains…, Mark Heathcote
  8. O Policeman, Beat You Not The The Other .., Bijay Kant Dubey
  9. Raincoat, Kyle Schlicher
  10. Running Through The Cornfield, Kyle Schlicher

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Ernest G Moll

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]