Christopher Pearse Cranch

(1815-1892 / the USA)

Sea Pictures - Poem by Christopher Pearse Cranch

THE morning sun has pierced the mist,
And beach and cliff and ocean kissed.
Blue as the lapis-lazuli
The sea reflects the azure sky.
In the salt healthy breeze I stand
Upon the solid floor of sand.
Along the untrodden shore are seen
Fresh tufts of weed maroon and green,
And ruffled kelp and stranded sticks
And shells and stones and sea-moss mix.
The low black rocks, forever wet,
Lie tangled in their pulpy net.
The shy sand-pipers fly and light —
And swallows circle out of sight.
Out where the sky the horizon meets
Glide glimmering sails in scattered fleets.
Old Ocean smiles as though amid
His leagues of brine no treachery hid.
And safe upon the sandy marge,
By stranded boat and floating barge,
Gay children leap and laugh and run,
Browned by the salt air and the sun.
Now thickening twilight presses down
Upon the harbor and the town,
And all around a misty pall
Of dull gray cloud hangs over all.
The huddling fishing-sloops lie safe,
While far away the breakers chafe.
And now the landsman's straining eye
Mingles the gray sea with the sky.
Far out upon the darkening deep
The white ghosts of the ocean leap.
Boone Island's light, a lonely star,
Is flashing o'er the waves afar.
Up the broad beach the sea rolls in
In never-ending foam and din;
And all along the craggy shore
Resounds one long continuous roar.
We turn away, and hail each gleam
Where lamps from cottage windows stream.
For sad and solemn is the moan
Of ocean when the day has flown,
And, borne on dusky wings, the night
Wraps in a shroud the dying light.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 24, 2010

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