The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and Toulon Prison

A Midsummer Holiday: VII. In The Water
By Algernon Charles Swinburne

The sea is awake, and the sound of the song of the joy of her waking is rolled
From afar to the star that recedes, from anear to the wastes of the wild wide shore.
Her call is a trumpet compelling us homeward: if dawn in her east be acold,
From the sea shall we crave not her grace to rekindle the life that it kindled before,
Her breath to requicken, her bosom to rock us, her kisses to bless as of yore?
For the wind, with his wings half open, at pause in the sky, neither fettered nor free,
Leans waveward and flutters the ripple to laughter and fain would the twain of us be
Where lightly the wave yearns forward from under the curve of the deep dawn’s dome,
And, full of the morning and fired with the pride of the glory thereof and the glee,
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and beseeches, athirst for the foam.
Life holds not an hour that is better to live in: the past is a tale that is told,
The future a sun-flecked shadow, alive and asleep, with a blessing in store.
As we give us again to the waters, the rapture of limbs that the waters enfold
Is less than the rapture of spirit whereby, though the burden it quits were sore,
Our souls and the bodies they wield at their will are absorbed in the life they adore
In the life that endures no burden, and bows not the forehead, and bends not the knee
In the life everlasting of earth and of heaven, in the laws that atone and agree,
In the measureless music of things, in the fervour of forces that rest or that roam,
That cross and return and reissue, as I after you and as you after me
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and beseeches, athirst for the foam.
For, albeit he were less than the least of them, haply the heart of a man may be bold
To rejoice in the word of the sea as a mother’s that saith to the son she bore,
Child, was not the life in thee mine, and my spirit the breath in thy lips from of old?
Have I let not thy weakness exult in my strength, and thy foolishness learn of my lore?
Have I helped not or healed not thine anguish, or made not the might of thy gladness more?
And surely his heart should answer, The light of the love of my life is in thee.
She is fairer than earth, and the sun is not fairer, the wind is not blither than she:
From my youth hath she shown me the joy of her bays that I crossed, of her cliffs that I clomb,
Till now that the twain of us here, in desire of the dawn and in trust of the sea,
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and beseeches, athirst for the foam.
Friend, earth is a harbour of refuge for winter, a covert whereunder to flee
When day is the vassal of night, and the strength of the hosts of her mightier than he;
But here is the presence adored of me, here my desire is at rest and at home.
There are cliffs to be climbed upon land, there are ways to be trodden and ridden, but we
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and beseeches, athirst for the foam.


My house is emptying out, which is sad, but also means maybe there is some chance I will eventually catch up on my life from before I went to France. Today we took Maddy to an appointment and, while she was there, went to the very good lunch buffet at Bombay Bistro with Daniel, after which we retrieved Maddy and all drove to the airport to drop Daniel off for his flight to Seattle (which eventually took off an hour late due to high winds in Denver, though fortunately his connection ran just as late). Maddy is going to L.A. very early Tuesday, so we're going from three kids in the house to none.

I spent the afternoon trying to catch up on mail, photos, and various computer chores -- I didn't even get to the laundry, let alone the linens and towels. We had dinner with my parents, leftovers from Saturday, then we came home for Supergirl (Kara holding Lena plus the guest stars made up for all faults) and catch-up on Madam Secretary (pretty good) and Once Upon a Time (not enough Regina but the Swan Queen was nice). From the Musée National de la Marine in Toulon, a model of the bagne where prisoners worked during the era of Les Miserables (under conditions a lot less humane than depicted here):


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