Sea Song

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Against the planks of the cabin side,
(So slight a thing between them and me,)
The great waves thundered and throbbed and sighed,
The great green waves of the Indian sea!

Your face was white as the foam is white,
Your hair was curled as the waves are curled,
I would we had steamed and reached that night
The sea's last edge, the end of the world.

The wind blew in through the open port,
So freshly joyous and salt and free,
Your hair it lifted, your lips it sought,
And then swept back to the open sea.

The engines throbbed with their constant beat;
Your heart was nearer, and all I heard;
Your lips were salt, but I found them sweet,
While, acquiescent, you spoke no word.

So straight you lay in your narrow berth,
Rocked by the waves; and you seemed to be
Essence of all that is sweet on earth,
Of all that is sad and strange at sea.

And you were white as the foam is white,
Your hair was curled as the waves are curled.
Ah! had we but sailed and reached that night,
The sea's last edge, the end of the world!

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