Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dover Beach

For some reason I can't get this poem out of my head today. It's been a good six months since I last read it but I can't stop thinking about it today. I probably should offer some kind of insight or analysis or question pertaining to writing but . . . nothing is coming to mind so I'll just let you contemplate it yourself. Enjoy :)

By Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Keriann Greaney Martin said...

This totally reminds me of your writing. Not the poetry, but the old-timey feel and the beautiful imagery :). Also, on the third line I totally read it as "on the French toast." Hahaha.

L. T. Host said...

Very pretty and evocative of the ocean. I <3 the ocean. Therefore I <3 this poem.