Poetry

Desiderata - Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Echoes - Pink Floyd – Meddle

Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine

And no-one showed us to the land
And no-one knows the where or whys
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb towards the light

Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand the best I can

And no-one calls us to move on
And no-one forces down our eyes
And no-one speaks and no-one tries
And no-one flies around the sun

Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes
Inviting and inciting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning

And no-one sings me lullabies
And no-one makes me close my eyes
And so I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky

Her South China Sea Eyes - by W. Jude Aher

young girl
with her south china sea eyes
where an ocean wind sighs
stands as she tries.

in the silence
between day and night
between hope and dreaming,
water is carved deep
in where a poet grows
in where a child to woman perceives.

a young girl dares to paint
her colors true to dance
her words free.

when only a poet believes
a young girl bleeds
her south china sea eyes open
standing where only a poet
dares to see.

The Sea Spirit – by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I smile o’er the wrinkled blue­
Lo! the sea is fair,
Smooth as the flow of a maiden’s hair;
And the welkin’s light shines through
Into mid-sea caverns of beryl hue,
And the little waves laugh and the mermaids sing,
And the sea is a beautiful, sinuous thing!

I scowl in sullen guise­
The sea grows dark and dun,
The swift clouds hide the sun
But not the bale-light in my eyes,
And the frightened wind as it flies
Ruffles the billows with stormy wing,
And the sea is a terrible, treacherous thing!

When moonlight glimmers dim
I pass in the path of the mist,
Like a pale spirit by spirits kissed.
At dawn I chant my own weird hymn,
And I dabble my hair in the sunset’s rim,
And I call to the dwellers along the shore
With a voice of gramarye evermore.

And if one for love of me
Gives to my call an ear,
I will woo him and hold him dear,
And teach him the way of the sea,
And my glamor shall ever over him be;
Though he wander afar in the cities of men
He will come at last to my arms again.

Crossing the bar – by Alfred Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ 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 cross’d the bar.

Down To The Sea In Ships – Charles W. Mitchell

I have gone down to the sea
I have worked the ships
I have seen the glory of the Lord
I have quenched my lips.

I have lived the life of a Mariner
The world can be a united neighborhood
I have defied the will of Lucifer
Working the ships in an adventuresome good.

I have been to many mountains
I have been through the valley of the shadow of death
I have sailed the seven seas
The lifeline of ships is a manifestation of
“Open Sesame” and God’s breath.

I have gone down to the sea
I did see the sky
The Lord is my Captain
The Lord does glorify.

As ships that pass in the night
I have met the twain
I did go down to the sea
I would do it yet again.

Sometime at eve – Elizabeth Clark Hardy

Sometime at eve when the tide is low,
I shall slip my mooring and sail away
With no response to the friendly hail
Of kindred craft in the busy bay.

In the silent hush of the twilight pale
When the night stoops down to embrace the day
And the voices call in the water’s flow….
Sometime at eve when the tide is low
I shall slip my mooring and sail away.

Through the purpling shadows that darkly trail
O’er the ebbing tide of the Unknown Sea,
I shall fare me away, with a dip of sail
And ripple of waters to tell the tale
Of a lonely voyager, sailing away
To the Mystic Isles where at anchor lay
The crafts of those who have sailed before
O’er the Unknown Sea to the Unseen Shore.

A few who have watched me sail away
Will miss my craft from the busy bay;
Some friendly barks that were anchored near,
Some loving souls that my heart held dear,
In silent sorrow will drop a tear—

But I shall have peacefully furled my sail
In moorings sheltered from storm or gale
And greeted the friends who have sailed before
O’er the Unknown Sea to the Unseen Shore.

Me – Don Bruce (a work in transition)

Will the world ever find me
the time I need to find me,
the time I need to be free,
Nothing left to haunt me

I have lived to what others wanted of me
What others said I should be
what others needed from me
Now it’s time to be me

Time to leave the life I knew
Time to say I loved you
To know I’ll always think of you

She has gone
She can no longer hold me
I’ll miss her always
but know it now
I will be nothing but Me

The Pirate King – Gilbert and Sullivan

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a pirate head, and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well– to– do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.

Follow Your Dream – Amanda Bradley

Follow your dream.
Take one step at a time and don’t settle for less,
Just continue to climb.
Follow your dream.
If you stumble, don’t stop and lose sight of your goal
Press to the top.
For only on top can we see the whole view,
Can we see what we’ve done and what we can do;
Can we then have the vision to seek something new,
Press on.
Follow your dream.

A Pirate Looks At Fourty – Jimmy Buffet

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall
You’ve seen it all,
you’ve seen it all

Watched the men who rode you
switch from sails to steam
And in your belly
you hold the treasures
few have ever seen
Most of ‘em dream,
most of ‘em dream

Yes I am a pirate,
two hundred years too late
The cannons don’t thunder,
there’s nothin’ to plunder
I’m an over– forty victim of fate
Arriving too late,
arriving too late

I’ve done a bit of smugglin’,
I’ve run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami,
but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last,
never meant to last

And I have been drunk now
for over two weeks
I passed out
and I rallied
and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishin’,
got to go fishin’
Down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends,
just a few friends

I go for younger women,
lived with several awhile
Though I ran ‘em away,
they’d come back one day
Still could manage to smile
Just takes a while,
just takes a while

Mother, mother ocean,
after all the years I’ve found
My occupational hazard being
my occupation’s just not around
I feel like I’ve drowned,
gonna head uptown

The Kraken – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber’d and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea– worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Sedley & Tennyson

They are becalmed in clearest days,
And in rough weather tost ;
They wither under cold delays,
Or are in tempests lost.
One while they seem to touch the port,
Then straight into the main,
Some angry wind, in cruel sport,
The vessel drives again.

Sir Charles Sedley

How sweet it was
Eating the lotus day by day,
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

TACKLE THE THING – Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and did it.

Somebody scoffed: Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has ever done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

The Victor – C. W. Longenecker

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of your– self before
You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

If – Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn– out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch– and– toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Sea Side Snobs – W.S. Gilbert

Extended on the Margate shore
(A lazy fit had bound me),
I fell a– moralizing o’er
The snobs I saw around me.

They buy unholy suits of clothes,
And every day they don them,
Their speech is crapulous with oaths.
But still the sun shines on them’.

They bawl and holloa, scream and shout,
Some source of joy they find it —
And though they leave their “h’s” out
The sea don’t seem to mind it!

They spit, and smoke tobacco rank.,
And live incontinently,
And though they look as if they drank —
The sea air fans them gently!

The words with which themselves they pledge
Cause decent ears to tingle;
But though it sets one’s teeth on edge,
It don’t offend the shingle!

Their showy clothes are slopped with mire,
Their paws with filth encrusted —
I wonder Nature don’t retire
From public life disgusted.

The sun shines on, the breezes blow,
When shops and counters free them —
The waves dance gaily to and fro,
And seem quite glad to see them!

Oh, sun and breeze and dancing trees,
In one commingling blended,
You are not difficult to please —
Not easily offended.

Sailing – Christopher Cross

It’s not far down to paradise
At least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

It’s not far to never never land
No reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy
Of innocence again
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

Sailing
Takes me away
To where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Fantasy
It gets the best of me
When I’m sailing
All caught up in the reverie
Every word is a symphony
Won’t you believe me

It’s not far back to sanity
At least it’s not for me
And when the wind is right you can sail away
And find serenity
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

NOTE: I know it’s not Victorian, but it could be.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
NOTE: This is too long to post here so I give you a link.

FREE – Eugene O’Neill

Weary am I of the tumult, sick of the staring crowd,
Pining for wild sea places where the soul may think aloud.
Fled is the glamour of cities, dead as the ghost of a dream,
While I pine anew for the tint of blue on the breast of the old Gulf Stream.

I have had my dance with Folly, nor do I shirk the blame;
I have sipped the so– called Wine of Life and paid the price of shame;
But I know that I shall find surcease, the rest my spirit craves,
Where the rainbows play in the flying spray,
‘Mid the keen salt kiss of the waves.

Then it’s ho! for the plunging deck of a bark, the hoarse song of the crew,
With never a thought of those we left or what we are going to do;
Nor heed the old ship’s burning, but break the shackles of care
And at last be free, on the open sea, with the trade wind in our hair.

They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Psalms, 107:23– 30, KJV

Hatteras Calling – Conrad Aiken

Southeast, and storm, and every weathervane
shivers and moans upon its dripping pin,
ragged on chimneys the cloud whips, the rain
howls at the flues and windows to get in,
the golden rooster claps his golden wings
and from the Baptist Chapel shrieks no more,
the golden arrow in the southeast sings
and hears on the roof the Atlantic Ocean roar.
Waves among wires, sea scudding over poles,
down every alley the magnificence of rain,
dead gutters live once more, the deep manholes
hollow in triumph a passage to the main.
Umbrellas, and in the Gardens one old man
hurries away along a dancing path,
listens to music on a watering– can,
observes among the tulips the sudden wrath,
pale willows thrashing to the needled lake,
and dinghies filled with water; while the sky
smashes the lilacs, swoops to shake and break,
till shattered branches shriek and railings cry.
Speak, Hatteras, your language of the sea:
scour with kelp and spindrift the stale street:
that man in terror may learn once more to be
child of that hour when rock and ocean meet.

The Pleasure Boat – Richard Henry Dana
The Pleasure Boat

Invictus – William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Sea Feaver – John Masefield

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.
I must go down to the seas again,
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume,
and the sea– gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

4 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. What a wonderful page. I am glad you included Invictus. It has become my favorite, these days.

    Good luck on your boat search.
    Fair winds and following seas,

    Christopher

  2. Hi Don
    I read your blog and poetry, through the CF and just wanted to say hello and good luck with your new adventures. Your story and poems hit a chord as I lost my husband to an aggressive cancer in 2009 and have decided to continue the path to the ocean. I am on CF as the Awesome Grandma (borrowed from Jimmy Buffett). Sometimes it seems daunting but it’s all possible. I have never read much poetry.. Robert Frost is the one that resonated way back when, but I do read lots of sea adventures. If you want a good read, The White HeadHunter is a good one. Living in Australia, it was interesting in many ways. Anyway, this note was to say hi, thanks for sharing your story. kind regards. Sue (aka A’Gma)

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