Harry Kemp

(15 December 1883 – 8 August 1960 / Youngstown, Ohio)

The Doldrums (A Still-Life Picture)


The sails hang dead, or they lift and flap like a cornfield scarecrow's coat,
And the seabirds swim abreast of us like ducks that play, a-float,
And the sea is all an endless field that heaves and falls a-far
As if the earth were taking breath on some strange, alien star,
For there are miles and miles of weed that tramp around and 'round
Till a fellow's tempted to step out and try if it's the ground.
And, sometimes when we strike a space that's clear of wild sea-grass
Our faces look up true and smooth as from a looking glass -
For unwrinkled as a baby's smile the ocean lies about
And a pin would break in ripples if we only cast one out . . .
But the skipper isn't happy for there's not a wind that blows, -
And beware the Mate's belaying pin as up the deck he goes,
For the ship, she's rolling, rolling like a nigger on a spree
And the cargo's almost shifted as we wallow in the sea
Because, out somewhere miles away a storm is waking hell . . .
And up smooth lifts of bubbling weed we ride the rolling swell . . .
Oh, each inch of us is crawling with the itch of prickly heat;
We can hear our own blood throbbing like a Chinese tom-tom's beat
And we catch a voice that's lifted, though it hardly seems in prayer -
It's the poor old cook that's cursing in the boiling galley there . . .
Oh, the region of the doldrums, for the devil it was made
And all decent seamen hate it as they pray for winds of trade
As they flounder toward the trade-winds where the sails lift full and free
And once more the prow runs onward foaming through the open sea.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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

What do you think this poem is about?



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 (The Doldrums (A Still-Life Picture) by Harry Kemp )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Elfin song, Emmanuel George Cefai
  2. To Have To Worry, Emmanuel George Cefai
  3. I heard these verses in a dream, Emmanuel George Cefai
  4. The centuries pass, my friend, Emmanuel George Cefai
  5. I heard a violin, Emmanuel George Cefai
  6. Epitaph on John Rankine, Robert Burns
  7. When the rains fall, Emmanuel George Cefai
  8. The Whistle: A Ballad, Robert Burns
  9. I Was Done With The World But My Heart R.., Melikhaya Zagagana
  10. revolutionary, Tinashe mulambo

Poem of the Day

poet John Clare

I love to see the old heath's withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling,
While the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps its melancholy wing,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Grace Paley

 

Trending Poems

  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  4. The Frog and The Nightingale, Vikram Seth
  5. All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  8. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  9. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]