Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

(1840 - 1922 / England)

Written At Sea - Poem by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

What is my quarrel with thee, beautiful sea,
That thus I cannot love thy waves or thee,
Or hear thy voice but it tormenteth me?

Why do I hate thee, who art beautiful
Beyond all beauty, when the nights are cool,
And the stars fade because the moon is full?

Why do I hate thee? Thou art new and young,
And life is thine for loving, and thy tongue
Hath tones that I have known and loved and sung.

Thou hast a smile which would my smiling greet;
Thy brave heart beateth as my own doth beat,
And thou hast tears which should be true and sweet.

Thou art a creature, strong and fair and brave,
Such as I might have given the world to have
And love and cherish;--and thou art my slave.

I have my home in thee. Thy arms enfold
Me all night long, and I am rocked and rolled,
And thou art never weary of thy hold.

Thou art a woman in thy constancy,
And worthy better love than mine could be;
And yet, behold, I cannot suffer thee.

If thou wert dumb; if thou wert like the sky,
Which has not learned to speak our misery
In any voice less rude than the wind's cry;

If thou wert wholly young and didst not know
The secret of our ancient human woe,
Or if thou knewest it wholly as I know;

Or yet if thou wert old with all these years;
If thou wert dull to hopes and loves and fears;
If thou wert blind and couldst not see our tears;

If thou wert bounded by some rocky shore,
And hadst not given thyself thus wholly o'er
To our poor single selves with all thy store;

If thou wert not in thy immensity,
A single circle circling with the sky,
Where we must still be centres changelessly;

If thou wert other than thou art; alas,
If thou wert not of water, but a mass
Of formless earth, a waveless plain of grass;

If thou wert shapeless as the mountains are;
If thou wert clad in some discordant wear;
If thou wert not so blue and trim and fair;

If thou wert decked with towns and villages;
If there was heard, across the silent seas,
The music of church bells upon the breeze;

If thou wert this; or if thou wert not near,
But I could only sit apart and hear
The beating of thy waves, and find it drear,

But wild and quite unknown, and far from me;
Sea, if thou couldst no longer be the sea,
Then I could love thee as thou lovest me.

If thou wouldst have me love thee, beautiful sea,
Build up a wall of dark 'twixt thee and me;
Let me not see thee; call the night to thee.

League with the winds; rise up, and send them driven
To roll mad clouds about thy back at even.
Make thee a desolation of the heaven.

Thou shouldst compel me, with thy angry voice,
To choose 'twixt death and thee; and, at the choice,
If my cheek grew not pale, thou might'st rejoice,

And I might love thee, oh thou monstrous sea;
But now I cannot love thy waves or thee,
Or bear thy beauty in my misery.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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