Sydney Thompson Dobell

(1824-1874 / England)

Song Of A Mad Girl, Whose Lover Has Died At Sea - Poem by Sydney Thompson Dobell

Under the green white blue of this and that and the other,
That and the other, and that and the other, for ever and ever,
Under the up and down and the swaying ships swingswonging,
There they flung him to sleep who will never come back to my longing.
The Father comes back to his child and the son comes back to his Mother,
But neither by land or sea
Will he ever come back to me,
Never, never, never
Will he come back to me.
All day I run by the Cliff, all night I stand in the sand,
All day I furrow and burrow the holmes and the heights.
But whether by night or day
There's never a trace or a track,
Never a word or a breath,
In the swill and the swoop and the flash and the foam and the wind,
Never a fleck or a speck
Coming, coming my way.
The mew comes back to the strand and the ship comes back to the land,
But he will never come back
To all the prayers that I pray thro' the scorching black of the day
And the freezing black of the nights,
Never, never come back
To the ear that harks itself deaf and the eye that strains itself blind,
And the heart that is starving to death.
He was chill and they threw him to cold,
He was dead and they threw him to drown,
He was weary and wanted rest-
They should have laid him on my breast,
He would have slept on my breast,
But they threw him into the boiling boil and bubble,
The wheel and the whirl, the driff and the draff
Of the everlasting trouble.
I swear to you he was mine! I swear to you he was my own.
Madam, if I may make so bold,
Do you know what the dead men do
In the black and blue, in the green and brown?
Deep, deep, you think they sleep
Where the mermen moan and the mermaids weep?
Ah, ah, you make me laugh!
I'm not yet twenty years old,
But lean your ear
And you shall hear
A little thing that I know.
Up and up they come to the top,
Down and down they go down.
To and fro the finny fish go,
But slow and slow, and so and so,
Low over high, high under low,
Up and up they come to the top,
Down and down they go down:
When the sun comes up they come to the top,
When the sun sinks they go down.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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