Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 172. Deep-sea Soundings
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
172. Deep-sea Soundings
By Sarah Williams  (1841–1868)
MARINER, what of the deep?
  This of the deep:
Twilight is there, and solemn, changeless calm;
Beauty is there, and tender healing balm—
Balm with no root in earth, or air, or sea,        5
Poised by the finger of God, it floateth free,
And, as it threads the waves, the sound doth rise,—
Hither shall come no further sacrifice;
Never again the anguished clutch at life,
Never again great Love and Death in strife;       10
He who hath suffered all, need fear no more,
Quiet his portion now, for evermore.
Mariner, what of the deep?
  This of the deep:
Solitude dwells not there, though silence reign;       15
Mighty the brotherhood of loss and pain;
There is communion past the need of speech,
There is a love no words of love can reach;
Heavy the waves that superincumbent press,
But as we labour here with constant stress,       20
Hand doth hold out to hand not help alone,
But the deep bliss of being fully known.
There are no kindred like the kin of sorrow,
There is no hope like theirs who fear no morrow.
Mariner, what of the deep?       25
  This of the deep:
Though we have travelled past the line of day,
Glory of night doth light us on our way,
Radiance that comes we know not how nor whence,
Rainbows without the rain, past duller sense,       30
Music of hidden reefs and waves long past,
Thunderous organ tones from far-off blast,
Harmony, victrix, throned in state sublime,
Couched on the wrecks be-gemmed with pearls of time;
Never a wreck but brings some beauty here;       35
Down where the waves are stilled the sea shines clear;
Deeper than life the plan of life doth lie,
He who knows all, fears naught. Great Death shall die.



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