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Best Famous Beach Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Beach poems. This is a select list of the best famous Beach poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Beach poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of beach poems.

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Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Fire of Drift-Wood

We sat within the farm-house old,
  Whose windows, looking o'er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
  An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port, The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night, Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight, Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene, Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been, And who was changed, and who was dead; And all that fills the hearts of friends, When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, And never can be one again; The first slight swerving of the heart, That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips, As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships, The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed, We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames, The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames, All mingled vaguely in our speech; Until they made themselves a part Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart, That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned! They were indeed too much akin, The drift-wood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.


Written by Maya Angelou | |

Million Man March Poem

The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.
Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach, I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I, But unfortunately throughout history You've worn a badge of shame.
I say, the night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark And the walls have been steep.
But today, voices of old spirit sound Speak to us in words profound, Across the years, across the centuries, Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another, Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place, The old ones remind us that slavery's chains Have paid for our freedom again and again.
The night has been long, The pit has been deep, The night has been dark, And the walls have been steep.
The hells we have lived through and live through still, Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise, And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground, I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love, I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference, Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts, Let us come together and revise our spirits, Let us come together and cleanse our souls, Clap hands, let's leave the preening And stop impostering our own history.
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge, Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation, Courtesy into our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchen, Care into our nursery.
The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain We are a going-on people who will rise again.
And still we rise.
Poem read at the Million Man March


More great poems below...

Written by Conrad Aiken | |

ZUDORA

Here on the pale beach, in the darkness; 
With the full moon just to rise; 
They sit alone, and look over the sea, 
Or into each other's eyes.
.
.
She pokes her parasol into the sleepy sand, Or sifts the lazy whiteness through her hand.
'A lovely night,' he says, 'the moon, Comes up for you and me.
Just like a blind old spotlight there, Fizzing across the sea!' She pays no heed, nor even turns her head: He slides his arm around her waist instead.
'Why don't we do a sketch together-- Those songs you sing are swell.
Where did you get them, anyway? They suit you awfully well.
' She will not turn to him--will not resist.
Impassive, she submits to being kissed.
'My husband wrote all four of them.
You know,--my husband drowned.
He was always sickly, soon depressed.
.
.
' But still she hears the sound Of a stateroom door shut hard, and footsteps going Swiftly and steadily, and the dark sea flowing.
She hears the dark sea flowing, and sees his eyes Hollow with disenchantment, sick surprise,-- And hate of her whom he had loved too well.
.
.
She lowers her eyes, demurely prods a shell.
'Yes.
We might do an act together.
That would be very nice.
' He kisses her passionately, and thinks She's carnal, but cold as ice.


Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

Meeting at Night

        I.
The grey sea and the long black land; And the yellow half-moon large and low; And the startled little waves that leap In fiery ringlets from their sleep, As I gain the cove with pushing prow, And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.
II.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; Three fields to cross till a farm appears; A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch And blue spurt of a lighted match, And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears, Than the two hearts beating each to each!


Written by William Cullen Bryant | |

A Song of Pitcairns Island

 Come, take our boy, and we will go
Before our cabin door;
The winds shall bring us, as they blow,
The murmurs of the shore;
And we will kiss his young blue eyes, 
And I will sing him, as he lies,
Songs that were made of yore:
I'll sing, in his delighted ear,
The island lays thou lov'st to hear.
And thou, while stammering I repeat, Thy country's tongue shalt teach; 'Tis not so soft, but far more sweet, Than my own native speech: For thou no other tongue didst know, When, scarcely twenty moons ago, Upon Tahete's beach, Thou cam'st to woo me to be thine, With many a speaking look and sign.
I knew thy meaning--thou didst praise My eyes, my locks of jet; Ah! well for me they won thy gaze,-- But thine were fairer yet! I'm glad to see my infant wear Thy soft blue eyes and sunny hair, And when my sight is met By his white brow and blooming cheek, I feel a joy I cannot speak.
Come talk of Europe's maids with me, Whose necks and cheeks, they tell, Outshine the beauty of the sea, White foam and crimson shell.
I'll shape like theirs my simple dress, And bind like them each jetty tress.
A sight to please thee well: And for my dusky brow will braid A bonnet like an English maid.
Come, for the soft low sunlight calls, We lose the pleasant hours; 'Tis lovelier than these cottage walls,-- That seat among the flowers.
And I will learn of thee a prayer, To Him, who gave a home so fair, A lot so blessed as ours-- The God who made, for thee and me, This sweet lone isle amid the sea.


Written by A R Ammons | |

So I Said I Am Ezra

 So I said I am Ezra
and the wind whipped my throat
gaming for the sounds of my voice
 I listened to the wind
go over my head and up into the night
Turning to the sea I said
 I am Ezra
but there were no echoes from the waves
The words were swallowed up
 in the voice of the surf
or leaping over the swells
lost themselves oceanward
 Over the bleached and broken fields
I moved my feet and turning from the wind
 that ripped sheets of sand
 from the beach and threw them
 like seamists across the dunes
swayed as if the wind were taking me away
and said
 I am Ezra
As a word too much repeated
falls out of being
so I Ezra went out into the night
like a drift of sand
and splashed among the windy oats
that clutch the dunes
of unremembered seas


Written by William Ernest Henley | |

Theres a Regret

 There's a regret
So grinding, so immitigably sad,
Remorse thereby feels tolerant, even glad.
.
.
.
Do you not know it yet? For deeds undone Rnakle and snarl and hunger for their due, Till there seems naught so despicable as you In all the grin o' the sun.
Like an old shoe The sea spurns and the land abhors, you lie About the beach of Time, till by and by Death, that derides you too -- Death, as he goes His ragman's round, espies you, where you stray, With half-an-eye, and kicks you out of his way And then -- and then, who knows But the kind Grave Turns on you, and you feel the convict Worm, In that black bridewell working out his term, Hanker and grope and crave? "Poor fool that might -- That might, yet would not, dared not, let this be, Think of it, here and thus made over to me In the implacable night!" And writhing, fain And like a triumphing lover, he shall take, His fill where no high memory lives to make His obscene victory vain.


Written by William Ernest Henley | |

Croquis

 The beach was crowded.
Pausing now and then, He groped and fiddled doggedly along, His worn face glaring on the thoughtless throng The stony peevishness of sightless men.
He seemed scarce older than his clothes.
Again, Grotesquing thinly many an old sweet song, So cracked his fiddle, his hand so frail and wrong, You hardly could distinguish one in ten.
He stopped at last, and sat him on the sand, And, grasping wearily his bread-winner, Staring dim towards the blue immensity, Then leaned his head upon his poor old hand.
He may have slept: he did not speak nor stir: His gesture spoke a vast despondency.


Written by Thomas Edward Brown | |

Ibant Obscur?

 To-night I saw three maidens on the beach,
Dark-robed descending to the sea,
So slow, so silent of all speech,
And visible to me
Only by that strange drift-light, dim, forlorn,
Of the sun's wreck and clashing surges born.
Each after other went, And they were gathered to his breast-- It seemed to me a sacrament Of some stern creed unblest: As when to rocks, that cheerless girt the bay, They bound thy holy limbs, Andromeda.


Written by Edgar Albert Guest | |

The Little Orphan

 The crowded street his playground is, a patch of blue his sky;
A puddle in a vacant lot his sea where ships pass by:
Poor little orphan boy of five, the city smoke and grime 
Taint every cooling breeze he gets throughout the summer time;
And he is just as your boy is, a child who loves to play,
Except that he is drawn and white and cannot get away.
And he would like the open fields, for often in his dreams The angels kind bear him off to where are pleasant streams, Where he may sail a splendid boat, sometimes he flies a kite, Or romps beside a shepherd dog and shouts with all his might; But when the dawn of morning comes he wakes to find once more That what he thought were sun-kissed hills are rags upon the floor.
Then through the hot and sultry day he plays at "make-pretend," The alley is a sandy beach where all the rich folks send Their little boys and girls to play, a barrel is his boat, But, oh, the air is tifling and the dust fills up his throat; And though he tries so very hard to play, somehow it seems He never gets such wondrous joys as angels bring in dreams.
Poor little orphan boy of five, except that he is pale, With sunken cheeks and hollow eyes and very wan and frail, Just like that little boy of yours, with same desire to play, Fond of the open fields and skies, he's built the self-same way; But kept by fate and circumstance away from shady streams, His only joy comes when he sleeps and angels bring him dreams.


Written by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

The Made to Order Smile

 When a woman looks up at you with a twist about her eyes, 
And her brows are half uplifted in a nicely feigned surprise 
As you breathe some pretty sentence, though she hates you all the while, 
She is very apt to stun you with a made to order smile.
It's a sublte combination of a sneer and a caress, With a dash of warmth thrown in to relieve its iciness, And she greets you when she meets you with that look as if a file Had been used to fix and fashion out the made to order smile.
I confess that I'm eccentric and am not a woman's man, For they seem to be constructed on the bunko fakir plan, And it somehow sets me thinking that her heart is full of guile When a woman looks up at me with a made to order smile.
Now, all maidens, young and aged, hear the lesson I would teach: Ye who meet us in the ballroom, ye who meet us at the beach, Pray consent to try and charm us by some other sort of wile And relieve us from the burden of that made to order smile.


Written by Edna St Vincent Millay | |

Eel-Grass

 No matter what I say,
All that I really love
Is the rain that flattens on the bay,
And the eel-grass in the cove;
The jingle-shells that lie and bleach
At the tide-line, and the trace
Of higher tides along the beach:
Nothing in this place.


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

Rhapsody on a Windy Night

 TWELVE o’clock.
Along the reaches of the street Held in a lunar synthesis, Whispering lunar incantations Dissolve the floors of memory And all its clear relations Its divisions and precisions, Every street lamp that I pass Beats like a fatalistic drum, And through the spaces of the dark Midnight shakes the memory As a madman shakes a dead geranium.
Half-past one, The street-lamp sputtered, The street-lamp muttered, The street-lamp said, “Regard that woman Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door Which opens on her like a grin.
You see the border of her dress Is torn and stained with sand, And you see the corner of her eye Twists like a crooked pin.
” The memory throws up high and dry A crowd of twisted things; A twisted branch upon the beach Eaten smooth, and polished As if the world gave up The secret of its skeleton, Stiff and white.
A broken spring in a factory yard, Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left Hard and curled and ready to snap.
Half-past two, The street-lamp said, “Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter, Slips out its tongue And devours a morsel of rancid butter.
” So the hand of the child, automatic, Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay.
I could see nothing behind that child’s eye.
I have seen eyes in the street Trying to peer through lighted shutters, And a crab one afternoon in a pool, An old crab with barnacles on his back, Gripped the end of a stick which I held him.
Half-past three, The lamp sputtered, The lamp muttered in the dark.
The lamp hummed: “Regard the moon, La lune ne garde aucune rancune, She winks a feeble eye, She smiles into corners.
She smooths the hair of the grass.
The moon has lost her memory.
A washed-out smallpox cracks her face, Her hand twists a paper rose, That smells of dust and eau de Cologne, She is alone With all the old nocturnal smells That cross and cross across her brain.
” The reminiscence comes Of sunless dry geraniums And dust in crevices, Smells of chestnuts in the streets, And female smells in shuttered rooms, And cigarettes in corridors And cocktail smells in bars.
The lamp said, “Four o’clock, Here is the number on the door.
Memory! You have the key, The little lamp spreads a ring on the stair.
Mount.
The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall, Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life.
” The last twist of the knife.


Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | |

The Hollow Men

 Mistah Kurtz -- he dead.
A penny for the Old Guy I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw.
Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer -- Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.