– Gone from My Sight Poem –
Perhaps poetry was written for the sea (or the other way around). The beat of a boat moving back and forth, and of the waves lapping at the beach, the grounding of structure and the sway of free verse.
Gone From My Sight Poem
The sea is only waiting for poetry to sail in. Add the epic grandeur of the ocean or the simple romantic element of water. Enjoy these fantastic poems about boats, ships, and sailing.
“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying.”
Sea Calm by Langston Hughes
Writing from the 1920s through the 1960s, Langston Hughes is renowned as a poet of the Harlem Renaissance and for using straightforward language rather than arcane syntax to express the experiences of his people.
As a young man, he held a variety of odd professions, including sailor, which allowed him to travel to Africa and Europe. This poem from his 1926 book “The Weary Blues,” which may have been influenced by his understanding of the water, was published.
How strangely still
The water is today,
It is not good
To be so still that way.”
Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The sea’s immense natural strength and the constant threat to humankind who traverses it maintain the distinction between life and death clear-cut.
The nautical word “crossing the bar” (sailing over the sandbar at the entrance to any harbor, putting out to sea) stands in for death, embarking for “the endless deep” in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Crossing the Bar” (1889).
Tennyson wrote this poem just a few years before his passing, and at his desire, it always comes last in every compilation of his works. The poem’s final two stanzas are:
“Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.”
Sea Fever by John Masefield
The lure of the sea, the difference between life on land and at sea, and the tension between familiarity and the unknown are notes that frequently ring in the melodies of sea poetry, as in John Masefield’s famous lines from “Sea Fever” (1902), which are frequently quoted yearning:
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”
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As If the Sea Should Part by Emily Dickinson
One of the finest American poets of the 19th century, Emily Dickinson, did not have her works published during her lifetime.
It wasn’t until the reclusive poet’s passing in 1886 that they made it widely known. Her poems are frequently succinct and dense with metaphor. In this passage, she compares eternity to the water.
“As if the Sea should part
And show a further Sea—
And that—a further—and the Three
But a presumption be—
Of Periods of Seas—
Unvisited of Shores—
Themselves the Verge of Seas to be—
Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is a tale that demands reverence for God’s creations, both large and tiny, as well as for the necessity of the storyteller, the urgency of the poet, and the need to engage an audience.
The longest poem by Coleridge begins:
“It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”
Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson
A.E. Housman later used words from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem,” an 1887 poem, in his own memorial poem for Stevenson, “R.L.S.”
Both Tennyson and Robert Louis Stevenson composed their own elegys. Many people have heard of and frequently use these famous quotes.
“Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me;
“Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”
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O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
Lincoln is the captain, the United States of America is his ship, and its harrowing journey is the just concluded Civil War, as described in Walt Whitman’s renowned elegy for the killed President Abraham Lincoln, “O Captain! My Captain,” from 1865. For Whitman, this poem is remarkably traditional.
“O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.”