Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
VII. The Sea
Flotsam and Jetsam
Anonymous
 
THE SEA crashed over the grim gray rocks,
  It thundered beneath the height,
It swept by reef and sandy dune,
It glittered beneath the harvest moon,
  That bathed it in yellow light.        5
 
Shell, and sea-weed, and sparkling stone,
  It flung on the golden sand.
Strange relics torn from its deepest caves,
Sad trophies of wild victorious waves,
  It scattered upon the strand.        10
 
Spars that had looked so strong and true,
  At many a gallant launch,
Shattered and broken, flung to the shore,
While the tide in its wild triumphant roar
  Rang a dirge for the vessel stanch.        15
 
Petty trifles that lovers had brought
  From many a foreign clime,
Snatched by the storm from the clinging clasp
Of hands that the lonely will never grasp,
  While the world yet measures time.        20
 
Back, back to its depths went the ebbing tide,
  Leaving its stores to rest,
Unsought and unseen in the silent bay,
To be gathered again, ere close of day,
  To the ocean’s mighty breast.        25
 
Kinder than man art thou, O sea;
  Frankly we give our best,
Truth, and hope, and love, and faith,
Devotion that challenges time and death
  Its sterling worth to test.        30
 
We fling them down at our darling’s feet,
  Indifference leaves them there.
The careless footstep turns aside,
Weariness, changefulness, scorn, or pride,
  Bring little of thought or care.        35
 
No tide of human feeling turns;
  Once ebbed, love never flows;
The pitiful wreckage of time and strife,
The flotsam and jetsam of human life,
  No saving reflux knows.        40
 
 
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