Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
Storm and Sun
John Hall Wheelock
O LOVE, now the herded billows over the holy plain
  Of the trampled sea move thunderously, and cast
Their wrath on the dark shore—let us set out again,
  Let us make seaward, and be gone at last.
Into the choiring, clashing, wild waste of waters strown        5
  Around us,—forward—forward—, and leave behind
The little frets and the fevers, just we two alone,
  Heart-free, as once in days long out of mind!
Forget the city and all its troubles, leave forever
  Our dusty ways! The Eternal ’round us rolled        10
Shall wash us white of the little sins and fears that sever,
  Lave us, and leave us lovers as of old—
Lovers as once in golden days gone by, till sorrow
  Fall from us like a robe, the martyrdom
Of life on the daily rack: there shall be no Tomorrow,        15
  Nor Yesterday, but heaven and ocean.—Sweetheart, come
And on the swelling pillow of the Unbounded lean
  Your cheek, all fiery now—O let us press
Forward, the changeful furrows of the flashing foam between,
  Our glowing bodies into the Loveliness!        20
The waves shatter, the billows break us, the sullen wrath
  Of the surf beats down our foreheads.” Line on line
Rises the majesty of the sea to Oppose our path
  With tingling bodies through the stinging brine;
But in our jubilant breasts the embattled life at bay        25
  Exults fiercely for joy, the waves cry out
And shout in answering joy, the salt and savage spray
  Showers our shoulders in the exuberant bout,
Where we press forward, laughing for lusty love, and the hollows
  Receive us and rise, the foam of the breaker’s crest        30
Unfolds like a flower and dies of its kiss, and subsides, and follows,
  Laughing and loving, where our limbs have pressed:
Till in the lustrous shadow of the last wave before us
  We bow, and from the rolling billow’s might
Lift glimmering eyelids up, while hearts and lips in chorus        35
  Mingle with winds and waters their delight.
Far—far—where the sea-bird sinks weary wings at last
  Before the wrath of the wings of the wind, the sea
Makes moan, the inconsolable, pale waters are aghast,
  And shudder with dread of their own immensity.        40
They murmur with one another, the voice of their vast prayer
  Sinks down in supplication, and the sleep
Of the Supreme is stirred to whispers everywhere—
  The dark and divine sorrows of the Deep.
Where the heads of the sea were holy and lifted in wrath divine        45
  Now broods the silence, heaven holds its breath,—
Where the feet of the winds made music far out to the lone sea-line,—
  The rapture and awe and silence as of death!
Hark—how the lonely sea-bird screams above the surges
  And inland reaches! Now, far out, we roam        50
The desert and dumb vast of the dread sea that urges
  Our fitful course far out beyond the foam,
Toward the most pallid rim of cloudy noonday steering
  Steadily, while the fluent glooms and grave
Lap us and lift, repulse, and pause—the wild and veering        55
  Will of the loving and reluctant wave.
The sombre and immense breast of the huge sea
  Lifts in long lines of beauty, the supreme
Bosom with its vast love rises resistlessly,
  And lapses in long lines into its dream.        60
Lone to the last marge—lone—lone—lone—
  And void to where the huddled waters crowd
The brim—along the floor of heaven’s darkened throne
  Moves, like a ghost, the shadow of a cloud.
Shadow and light pass over shifting, shine and shade        65
  Vanish and veer, upon the chilly rim
Kindle like crowns the cloud-crests along the east arrayed
  And swords of flame, like swords of the seraphim.
The floors of the sea catch fire, the eye of the world’s light
  Dilates, and into a glory of glittering gold        70
Break the pale greens and purples; the sun in heaven’s height
  Unveils himself for all men to behold
And all the world is a-riot, behind us and before,
  With fire and color—the heavens roll back their gloom,
From zone to zone, from the zenith to the everlasting floor,        75
  Reaches one resonant and radiant room—
Light!—Light! The astounded, far fields of ocean shine
  Sheer gold and shimmering amber: where we take
The lips of the wave with laughter your eyes are turned to mine,
  Sweetheart, your eyes that burn for beauty’s sake.        80
They tremble with happy tears and little words unspoken
  Trouble your lips; dumbly, dumbly we know
Something starry and strange, that the world’s wheel has broken,
  Come back to us out of the long-ago.
Put out your hand. O cleave the clasp of the close wave, turning        85
  Its fire to flowers! Put out your hand, and move
Forward into the radiant far reaches ’round us burning,
  Darling, as once in the old days of love.
Our hearts drink the wrath and the wonder, the breath of the boundless spaces
  Hallows our foreheads, the exceeding might        90
Of moving waters around us is music, and on our faces
  The glory of God is shed, His holy light!

  Reedy’s Mirror


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.