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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 |


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.
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

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.
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 A E Housman |


 Wake: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.
Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters, Trampled to the floor it spanned, And the tent of night in tatters Straws the sky-pavilioned land.
Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying: Hear the drums of morning play; Hark, the empty highways crying "Who'll beyond the hills away?" Towns and countries woo together, Forelands beacon, belfries call; Never lad that trod on leather Lived to feast his heart with all.
Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber Sunlit pallets never thrive; Morns abed and daylight slumber Were not meant for man alive.
Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over There'll be time enough to sleep.

Written by Edna St Vincent Millay |


 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 Margaret Atwood |

A Visit

 Gone are the days
when you could walk on water.
When you could walk.
The days are gone.
Only one day remains, the one you're in.
The memory is no friend.
It can only tell you what you no longer have: a left hand you can use, two feet that walk.
All the brain's gadgets.
Hello, hello.
The one hand that still works grips, won't let go.
That is not a train.
There is no cricket.
Let's not panic.
Let's talk about axes, which kinds are good, the many names of wood.
This is how to build a house, a boat, a tent.
No use; the toolbox refuses to reveal its verbs; the rasp, the plane, the awl, revert to sullen metal.
Do you recognize anything? I said.
Anything familiar? Yes, you said.
The bed.
Better to watch the stream that flows across the floor and is made of sunlight, the forest made of shadows; better to watch the fireplace which is now a beach.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |


 To the City of Bombay

The Cities are full of pride,
 Challenging each to each --
This from her mountain-side,
 That from her burthened beach.
They count their ships full tale -- Their corn and oil and wine, Derrick and loom and bale, And rampart's gun-flecked line; City by City they hail: "Hast aught to match with mine?" And the men that breed from them They traffic up and down, But cling to their cities' hem As a child to their mother's gown.
When they talk with the stranger bands, Dazed and newly alone; When they walk in the stranger lands, By roaring streets unknown; Blessing her where she stands For strength above their own.
(On high to hold her fame That stands all fame beyond, By oath to back the same, Most faithful-foolish-fond; Making her mere-breathed name Their bond upon their bond.
) So thank I God my birth Fell not in isles aside -- Waste headlands of the earth, Or warring tribes untried -- But that she lent me worth And gave me right to pride.
Surely in toil or fray Under an alien sky, Comfort it is to say: "Of no mean city am I!" (Neither by service nor fee Come I to mine estate -- Mother of Cities to me, For I was born in her gate, Between the palms and the sea, Where the world-end steamers wait.
) Now for this debt I owe, And for her far-borne cheer Must I make haste and go With tribute to her pier.
And she shall touch and remit After the use of kings (Orderly, ancient, fit) My deep-sea plunderings, And purchase in all lands.
And this we do for a sign Her power is over mine, And mine I hold at her hands!

Written by Elizabeth Bishop |

The End Of March

 For John Malcolm Brinnin and Bill Read: Duxbury

It was cold and windy, scarcely the day 
to take a walk on that long beach 
Everything was withdrawn as far as possible, 
indrawn: the tide far out, the ocean shrunken, 
seabirds in ones or twos.
The rackety, icy, offshore wind numbed our faces on one side; disrupted the formation of a lone flight of Canada geese; and blew back the low, inaudible rollers in upright, steely mist.
The sky was darker than the water --it was the color of mutton-fat jade.
Along the wet sand, in rubber boots, we followed a track of big dog-prints (so big they were more like lion-prints).
Then we came on lengths and lengths, endless, of wet white string, looping up to the tide-line, down to the water, over and over.
Finally, they did end: a thick white snarl, man-size, awash, rising on every wave, a sodden ghost, falling back, sodden, giving up the ghost.
A kite string?--But no kite.
I wanted to get as far as my proto-dream-house, my crypto-dream-house, that crooked box set up on pilings, shingled green, a sort of artichoke of a house, but greener (boiled with bicarbonate of soda?), protected from spring tides by a palisade of--are they railroad ties? (Many things about this place are dubious.
) I'd like to retire there and do nothing, or nothing much, forever, in two bare rooms: look through binoculars, read boring books, old, long, long books, and write down useless notes, talk to myself, and, foggy days, watch the droplets slipping, heavy with light.
At night, a grog a l'américaine.
I'd blaze it with a kitchen match and lovely diaphanous blue flame would waver, doubled in the window.
There must be a stove; there is a chimney, askew, but braced with wires, and electricity, possibly --at least, at the back another wire limply leashes the whole affair to something off behind the dunes.
A light to read by--perfect! But--impossible.
And that day the wind was much too cold even to get that far, and of course the house was boarded up.
On the way back our faces froze on the other side.
The sun came out for just a minute.
For just a minute, set in their bezels of sand, the drab, damp, scattered stones were multi-colored, and all those high enough threw out long shadows, individual shadows, then pulled them in again.
They could have been teasing the lion sun, except that now he was behind them --a sun who'd walked the beach the last low tide, making those big, majestic paw-prints, who perhaps had batted a kite out of the sky to play with.

Written by Walt Whitman |

We Two Boys Together Clinging.

 WE two boys together clinging, 
One the other never leaving, 
Up and down the roads going—North and South excursions making, 
Power enjoying—elbows stretching—fingers clutching, 
Arm’d and fearless—eating, drinking, sleeping, loving,
No law less than ourselves owning—sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening, 
Misers, menials, priests alarming—air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing, 
Fulfilling our foray.

Written by William Allingham |

Down on the Shore

 Down on the shore, on the sunny shore! 
Where the salt smell cheers the land;
Where the tide moves bright under boundless light, 
And the surge on the glittering strand; 
Where the children wade in the shallow pools, 
Or run from the froth in play; 
Where the swift little boats with milk-white wings 
Are crossing the sapphire bay, 
And the ship in full sail, with a fortunate gale, 
Holds proudy on her way; 
Where the nets are spread on the grass to dry, 
And asleep, hard by, the fishermen lie, 
Under the tent of the warm blue sky, 
With the hushing wave on its golden floor 
To sing their lullaby.
Down on the shore, on the stormy shore! Beset by a growling sea, Whose mad waves leap on the rocky steep Like wolves up a traveller's tree; Where the foam flies wide, and an angry blast Blows the curlew off, with a screech; Where the brown sea-wrack, torn up by the roots, Is flung out of fishes' reach; And the tall ship rolls on the hidden shoals, And scatters her planks on the beach; Where slate and straw through the village spin, And a cottage fronts the fiercest din With a sailor's wife sitting sad within, Hearkening the wind and the water's roar, Till at last her tears begin.

Written by Walt Whitman |

I will Take an Egg Out of the Robin's Nest.

 I WILL take an egg out of the robin’s nest in the orchard, 
I will take a branch of gooseberries from the old bush in the garden, and go and preach to
You shall see I will not meet a single heretic or scorner, 
You shall see how I stump clergymen, and confound them, 
You shall see me showing a scarlet tomato, and a white pebble from the beach.

Written by Sophie Hannah |

Rondeau Redoublé

 I know the rules and hear myself agree
Not to invest beyond this one night stand.
I know your patter: in, out, like the sea.
The sharp north wind must blow away the sand.
Soon my supply will meet your last demand And you will have no further use for me.
I will not swim against the tide, to land.
I know the rules.
I hear myself agree.
I've kept a stash of hours, just two or three To smuggle off your coast like contraband.
We will both manage (you more easily) Not to invest beyond this one night stand.
To narrow-minded friends I will expand On cheap not being the same as duty free.
I'll say this was exactly what I planned.
I know your pattern: in, out, like the sea.
It's not as if we were designed to be Strolling along the beach front, hand in hand.
Things change, of natural necessity.
The sharp north wind must blow away the sand And every storm to rage, however grand, Will end in pain and shipwreck and debris And each time there's a voice I have to strand On a bare rock, hardened against its plea; I know the rules.

Written by Rafael Guillen |

I Hardly Remember

 I hardly remember your voice, but the pain of you
floats in some remote current of my blood.
I carry you in my depths, trapped in the sludge like one of those corpses the sea refuses to give up.
It was a spoiled remnant of the South.
A beach without fishing boats, where the sun was for sale.
A stretch of shore, now a jungle of lights and languages that grudgingly offered, defeated, its obligation of sand.
The night of that day punished us at its whim.
I held you so close I could barely see you.
Autumn was brandishing guffaws and dancebands and the sea tore at the pleasure-boats in a frenzy.
Your hand balanced, with its steady heat, the wavering tepidness of alcohol.
The gardens came at me from far away through your skirt.
My high-tide mark rose to the level of your breasts.
Carpets, like tentacles, wriggling down to the strand, attracted passers-by to the mouth of the clamor.
With lights and curtains, above the tedium the bedrooms murmured in the grand hotels.
There are dark moments when our ballast gives out from so much banging around.
Moments, or centuries, when the flesh revels in its nakedness and reels to its own destruction, sucking the life from itself.
I groped around me, trying on your embrace, but love was not where your embrace was.
I felt your hands stroking that physical ache but a great nothing went before your hands.
I searched, down the length of your soulless surrender, for a calm bay where I could cast a net, yearning to hear a trace of the vendor's voice still wet with the glimmer of the flapping minnows.
It was a spoiled remnant of the South.
The aroma of muscatel was tainted with whiskey breath.
I carry that dead embrace inside me yet like a foreign object the flesh tries to reject.