Wednesday, June 13, 2018
(With appreciation of Matthew Arnold’s poem, Dover Beach)
The Ocean is strong today.
The waves roll in; the sun is bright
upon the Pacific. In this island surf the light
sparkles and tumbles; the rocky shores stand,
steadfast and vast, under a friendly sun.
Let’s do the beach; this afternoon’s energy is vigorous.
But hey! from this long splash of spray,
where sea meets the sun-kiss’d land—
Listen! we hear the pounding roar
of sand grains which the waves draw back, and fling,
forever, upon this high strand.
Beginning and ceasing, and then beginning again,
with a forceful rhythm it perseveres, to roll
The eternal resonance of wonder in.
Dear Matthew, back in the day,
heard this on the North Sea, and it brought
into his mind the ponderous ebb and flow
of our melancholy brood; we
hear it still the same; yet with that lamenting we discern
a reverberating of relentless purpose
in this pounding Pacific shore.
Oh sea of faith!
Persistent and unrelenting, all ‘round our earth’s shore—
you flap forever like folds of a bright banner unfurled.
Although I also feel
that ancient melancholy, the long, withdrawing roar,
retreating, in the breath
of the evening wind, laden with our roiling refugees
and the uncared-for masses of the world.
Oh, people, let us be true
To one another! For the world, which seems
to boil before us like a pot of strife—
so disjointed, so distraught, so stubbornly the same,
really has somewhere some joy, love, and even flashes of benevolence,
some certainty— here and there a little peace— even some easing of the pain,
while we here on this fragg’ed globe
get swept with fake news and tweeting dweebs who incite us,
as ill-informed combatants clash with their devices.