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Winter Seascape

 The sea runs back against itself
With scarcely time for breaking wave
To cannonade a slatey shelf
And thunder under in a cave.
Before the next can fully burst The headwind, blowing harder still, Smooths it to what it was at first - A slowly rolling water-hill.
Against the breeze the breakers haste, Against the tide their ridges run And all the sea's a dappled waste Criss-crossing underneath the sun.
Far down the beach the ripples drag Blown backward, rearing from the shore, And wailing gull and shrieking shag Alone can pierce the ocean roar.
Unheard, a mongrel hound gives tongue, Unheard are shouts of little boys; What chance has any inland lung Against this multi-water noise? Here where the cliffs alone prevail I stand exultant, neutral, free, And from the cushion of the gale Behold a huge consoling sea.

by John Betjeman
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