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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dover Beach (Favorite Poems)

Continuing with a few of my favorite poems.  It's not a top ten list of any kind. Just a few of those poems which I remember well because at a certain point in my life they had influence and meaning to me personally.  I started with Percy Bysshe Shelly and Ozymandias. My next choice was The Testament of a Fisherman by Robert Traver. My next choice is Dover Beach by Mathew Arnold.

I don't believe I would have chosen this poem a few decades ago. History though shows us  the ebb and flow of civilizations and life.  Recent years have brought us the loss of our eldest son, five grandchildren who live far away and our 50th wedding anniversary along with serious health issues. The daily news sees numerous crises, tragic events along with a potential catastrophe unfolding at the nations center. Yes Dover Beach speaks to me these days......

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 Ægean, 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.


Joanne Noragon said...

Speaking for myself, perhaps many more, time can leave our plans behind.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

After the calm, often comes the storm. Our lives are often turning like the sea and now it seems like we are facing monsters that we never thought possible. I wish for normalcy, but I am not quite sure what that means any more.

Valerie said...

The poem is very moving.... yet it is beautiful. Sadly life is never what we expect. I wish you well in these troubled days.

Vicki said...

Thank you for sharing this, it is very moving.

Arkansas Patti said...

Quite fitting for today as we are on darkling plain at the mercy of ignorant armies.