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Best Famous Ocean Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Emily Dickinson | |

A bird came down the walk

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew From a convenient grass, And then hopped sidewise to the wall To let a beetle pass.
He glanced with rapid eyes That hurried all abroad,-- They looked like frightened beads, I thought; He stirred his velvet head Like one in danger; cautious, I offered him a crumb, And he unrolled his feathers And rowed him softer home Than oars divide the ocean, Too silver for a seam, Or butterflies, off banks of noon, Leap, splashless, as they swim.


by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

Loves Philosophy

THE fountains mingle with the river 
And the rivers with the ocean  
The winds of heaven mix for ever 
With a sweet emotion; 
Nothing in the world is single 5 
All things by a law divine 
In one another's being mingle¡ª 
Why not I with thine? 

See the mountains kiss high heaven  
And the waves clasp one another; 10 
No sister-flower would be forgiven 
If it disdain'd its brother; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth  
And the moonbeams kiss the sea¡ª 
What are all these kissings worth 15 
If thou kiss not me?


by George (Lord) Byron | |

There be none of Beautys daughters

THERE be none of Beauty's daughters 
With a magic like thee; 
And like music on the waters 
Is thy sweet voice to me: 
When as if its sound were causing 5 
The charmed ocean's pausing  
The waves lie still and gleaming  
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming: 

And the midnight moon is weaving 
Her bright chain o'er the deep 10 
Whose breast is gently heaving 
As an infant's asleep: 
So the spirit bows before thee 
To listen and adore thee; 
With a full but soft emotion 15 
Like the swell of summer's ocean.


by Walter Savage Landor | |

Well I Remember How You Smiled

 Well I remember how you smiled
To see me write your name upon
The soft sea-sand .
.
.
"O! what a child! You think you're writing upon stone!" I have since written what no tide Shall ever wash away, what men Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide And find Ianthe's name again.


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Two Streams

 Behold the rocky wall 
That down its sloping sides 
Pours the swift rain-drops, blending, as they fall, 
In rushing river-tides! 
Yon stream, whose sources run 
Turned by a pebble's edge, 
Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun 
Through the cleft mountain-ledge.
The slender rill had strayed, But for the slanting stone, To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid Of foam-flecked Oregon.
So from the heights of Will Life's parting stream descends, And, as a moment turns its slender rill, Each widening torrent bends, -- From the same cradle's side, From the same mother's knee, -- One to long darkness and the frozen tide, One to the Peaceful Sea!


by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

Old Ironsides

 Ay, tear her tattered ensign down! 
Long has it waved on high, 
And many an eye has danced to see 
That banner in the sky; 
Beneath it rung the battle shout, 
And burst the cannon's roar; -- 
The meteor of the ocean air 
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood, Where knelt the vanquished foe, When winds were hurrying o'er the flood, And waves were white below, No more shall feel the victor's tread, Or know the conquered knee; -- The harpies of the shore shall pluck The eagle of the sea! Oh, better that her shattered hulk Should sink beneath the wave; Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave; Nail to the mast her holy flag, Set every threadbare sail, And give her to the god of storms, The lightning and the gale!


by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |

Lost Anchors

 Like a dry fish flung inland far from shore, 
There lived a sailor, warped and ocean-browned, 
Who told of an old vessel, harbor-drowned, 
And out of mind a century before, 
Where divers, on descending to explore 
A legend that had lived its way around 
The world of ships, in the dark hulk had found 
Anchors, which had been seized and seen no more.
Improving a dry leiure to invest Their misadventure with a manifest Analogy that he may read who runs, The sailor made it old as ocean grass-- Telling of much that once had come to pass With him, whose mother should have had no sons.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Loves Coming

 She had looked for his coming as warriors come, 
With the clash of arms and the bugle's call; 
But he came instead with a stealthy tread, 
Which she did not hear at all.
She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun, As he rode like a prince to claim his bride: In the sweet dim light of the falling night She found him at her side.
She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye Would wake her heart to a sudden glow: She found in his face the familiar grace Of a friend she used to know.
She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul, As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm's strife: He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm, And a peace which crowned her life.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Begin The Day

 Begin each morning with a talk to God,
And ask for your divine inheritance
Of usefulness, contentment, and success.
Resign all fear, all doubt, and all despair.
The stars doubt not, and they are undismayed, Though whirled through space for countless centuries, And told not why or wherefore: and the sea With everlasting ebb and flow obeys, And leaves the purpose with the unseen Cause.
The star sheds its radiance on a million worlds, The sea is prodigal with waves, and yet No lustre from the star is lost, and not One dropp missing from the ocean tides.
Oh! brother to the star and sea, know all God’s opulence is held in trust for those Who wait serenely and who work in faith.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

As You Go Through Life

 Don’t look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light Somewhere in its shadows hiding; It is better by far to hunt for a star, Than the spots on the sun abiding.
The current of life runs ever away To the bosom of God’s great ocean.
Don’t set your force ‘gainst the river’s course And think to alter its motion.
Don’t waste a curse on the universe – Remember it lived before you.
Don’t butt at the storm with your puny form, But bend and let it go o’er you.
The world will never adjust itself To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long, And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite, And go under at last in the wrestle; The wiser man shapes into God’s plan As water shapes into a vessel.


by Friedrich von Schiller | |

Naenia

 Even the beauteous must die! This vanquishes men and immortals;
But of the Stygian god moves not the bosom of steel.
Once and once only could love prevail on the ruler of shadows, And on the threshold, e'en then, sternly his gift he recalled.
Venus could never heal the wounds of the beauteous stripling, That the terrible boar made in his delicate skin; Nor could his mother immortal preserve the hero so godlike, When at the west gate of Troy, falling, his fate he fulfilled.
But she arose from the ocean with all the daughters of Nereus, And o'er her glorified son raised the loud accents of woe.
See! where all the gods and goddesses yonder are weeping, That the beauteous must fade, and that the perfect must die.
Even a woe-song to be in the mouth of the loved ones is glorious, For what is vulgar descends mutely to Orcus' dark shades.


by Friedrich von Schiller | |

Rapture -- To Laura

 From earth I seem to wing my flight,
And sun myself in Heaven's pure light,
When thy sweet gaze meets mine
I dream I quaff ethereal dew,
When my own form I mirrored view
In those blue eyes divine!

Blest notes from Paradise afar,
Or strains from some benignant star
Enchant my ravished ear:
My Muse feels then the shepherd's hour
When silvery tones of magic power
Escape those lips so dear!

Young Loves around thee fan their wings--
Behind, the maddened fir-tree springs,
As when by Orpheus fired:
The poles whirl round with swifter motion,
When in the dance, like waves o'er Ocean,
Thy footsteps float untired!

Thy look, if it but beam with love,
Could make the lifeless marble move,
And hearts in rocks enshrine:
My visions to reality
Will turn, if, Laura, in thine eye
I read--that thou art mine!


by Friedrich von Schiller | |

The Antique To The Northern Wanderer

 Thou hast crossed over torrents, and swung through wide-spreading ocean,--
Over the chain of the Alps dizzily bore thee the bridge,
That thou might'st see me from near, and learn to value my beauty,
Which the voice of renown spreads through the wandering world.
And now before me thou standest,--canst touch my altar so holy,-- But art thou nearer to me, or am I nearer to thee?


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XL: On the Low Margin

 On the low margin of a murm'ring stream,
As rapt in meditation's arms I lay;
Each aching sense in slumbers stole away,
While potent fancy form'd a soothing dream;
O'er the Leucadian deep, a dazzling beam
Shed the bland light of empyrean day!
But soon transparent shadows veil'd each ray,
While mystic visions sprang athwart the gleam!
Now to the heaving gulf they seem'd to bend,
And now across the sphery regions glide;
Now in mid-air, their dulcet voices blend,
"Awake! awake!" the restless phalanx cried,
"See ocean yawns the lover's woes to end,
"Plunge the green wave, and bid thy griefs subside.
"


by Henry Van Dyke | |

Loves Nearness

 I think of thee, when golden sunbeams shimmer
Across the sea;
And when the waves reflect the moon's pale glimmer,
I think of thee.
I see thy form, when down the distant highway The dust-clouds rise; In deepest night, above the mountain by-way, I see thine eyes.
I hear thee when the ocean-tides returning Loudly rejoice; And on the lonely moor, in stillness yearning, I hear thy voice.
I dwell with thee: though thou art far removed, Yet art thou near.
The sun goes down, the stars shine out, --- Beloved, Ah, wert thou here!


by Lucy Maud Montgomery | |

Song of the Sea-Wind

 When the sun sets over the long blue wave
I spring from my couch of rest,
And I hurtle and boom over leagues of foam 
That toss in the weltering west,
I pipe a hymn to the headlands high, 
My comrades forevermore,
And I chase the tricksy curls of foam 
O'er the glimmering sandy shore.
The moon is my friend on clear, white nights When I ripple her silver way, And whistle blithely about the rocks Like an elfin thing at play; But anon I ravin with cloud and mist And wail 'neath a curdled sky, When the reef snarls yon like a questing beast, And the frightened ships go by.
I scatter the dawn across the sea Like wine of amber flung From a crystal goblet all far and fine Where the morning star is hung; I blow from east and I blow from west Wherever my longing be- The wind of the land is a hindered thing But the ocean wind is free!


by Lucy Maud Montgomery | |

The Gulls

 I 

Soft is the sky in the mist-kirtled east,
Light is abroad on the sea,
All of the heaven with silver is fleeced, 
Holding the sunrise in fee.
Lo! with a flash and uplifting of wings Down where the long ripples break, Cometh a bevy of glad-hearted things, 'Tis morn, for the gulls are awake.
II Slumberous calm on the ocean and shore Comes with the turn of the tide; Never a strong-sweeping pinion may soar, Where the tame fishing-boats ride! Far and beyond in blue deserts of sea Where the wild winds are at play, There may the spirits of sea-birds be free­ 'Tis noon, for the gulls are away.
III Over the rim of the sunset is blown Sea-dusk of purple and gold, Speed now the wanderers back to their own, Wings the most tireless must fold.
Homeward together at twilight they flock, Sated with joys of the deep Drowsily huddled on headland and rock­ 'Tis night, for the gulls are asleep.


by Lucy Maud Montgomery | |

Morning along Shore

 Hark, oh hark the elfin laughter
All the little waves along,
As if echoes speeding after
Mocked a merry merman's song! 

All the gulls are out, delighting
In a wild, uncharted quest­
See the first red sunshine smiting
Silver sheen of wing and breast! 

Ho, the sunrise rainbow-hearted
Steals athwart the misty brine,
And the sky where clouds have parted
Is a bowl of amber wine! 

Sweet, its cradle-lilt partaking,
Dreams that hover o'er the sea,
But the lyric of its waking
Is a sweeter thing to me! 

Who would drowze in dull devotion
To his ease when dark is done,
And upon its breast the ocean
Like a jewel wears the sun? 

"Up, forsake a lazy pillow!" 
Calls the sea from cleft and cave,
Ho, for antic wind and billow
When the morn is on the wave!


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

PROXIMITY OF THE BELOVED ONE.

 I THINK of thee, whene'er the sun his beams

O'er ocean flings;
I think of thee, whene'er the moonlight gleams

In silv'ry springs.
I see thee, when upon the distant ridge The dust awakes; At midnight's hour, when on the fragile bridge The wanderer quakes.
I hear thee, when yon billows rise on high, With murmur deep.
To tread the silent grove oft wander I, When all's asleep.
I'm near thee, though thou far away mayst be-- Thou, too, art near! The sun then sets, the stars soon lighten me.
Would thou wert here! 1795.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

BY THE RIVER.

 FLOW on, ye lays so loved, so fair,

On to Oblivion's ocean flow!
May no rapt boy recall you e'er,

No maiden in her beauty's glow!

My love alone was then your theme,

But now she scorns my passion true.
Ye were but written in the stream; As it flows on, then, flow ye too! 1798.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

MAY.

 LIGHT and silv'ry cloudlets hover

In the air, as yet scarce warm;
Mild, with glimmer soft tinged over,

Peeps the sun through fragrant balm.
Gently rolls and heaves the ocean As its waves the bank o'erflow.
And with ever restless motion Moves the verdure to and fro, Mirror'd brightly far below.
What is now the foliage moving? Air is still, and hush'd the breeze, Sultriness, this fullness loving, Through the thicket, from the trees.
Now the eye at once gleams brightly, See! the infant band with mirth Moves and dances nimbly, lightly, As the morning gave it birth, Flutt'ring two and two o'er earth.
* * * * 1816.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE MUSES MIRROR.

 EARLY one day, the Muse, when eagerly bent on adornment,
Follow'd a swift-running streamlet, the quietest nook by it seeking.
Quickly and noisily flowing, the changeful surface distorted Ever her moving form; the goddess departed in anger.
Yet the stream call'd mockingly after her, saying: "What, truly! Wilt thou not view, then, the truth, in my mirror so clearly depicted?" But she already was far away, on the brink of the ocean, In her figure rejoicing, and duly arranging her garland.
1799.
*


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

PREMATURE SPRING.

 DAYS full of rapture,

Are ye renew'd ?--
Smile in the sunlight

Mountain and wood?

Streams richer laden

Flow through the dale,
Are these the meadows?

Is this the vale?

Coolness cerulean!

Heaven and height!
Fish crowd the ocean,

Golden and bright.
Birds of gay plumage Sport in the grove, Heavenly numbers Singing above.
Under the verdure's Vigorous bloom, Bees, softly bumming, Juices consume.
Gentle disturbance Quivers in air, Sleep-causing fragrance, Motion so fair.
Soon with more power Rises the breeze, Then in a moment Dies in the trees.
But to the bosom Comes it again.
Aid me, ye Muses, Bliss to sustain! Say what has happen'd Since yester e'en? Oh, ye fair sisters, Her I have seen! 1802.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

CALM AT SEA.

 SILENCE deep rules o'er the waters,

Calmly slumb'ring lies the main,
While the sailor views with trouble

Nought but one vast level plain.
Not a zephyr is in motion! Silence fearful as the grave! In the mighty waste of ocean Sunk to rest is ev'ry wave.
1795.


by Walter de la Mare | |

Sunk Lyonesse

 In sea-cold Lyonesse,
When the Sabbath eve shafts down
On the roofs, walls, belfries
Of the foundered town,
The Nereids pluck their lyres
Where the green translucency beats,
And with motionless eyes at gaze
Make ministrely in the streets.
And the ocean water stirs In salt-worn casement and porch.
Plies the blunt-nosed fish With fire in his skull for torch.
And the ringing wires resound; And the unearthly lovely weep, In lament of the music they make In the sullen courts of sleep: Whose marble flowers bloom for aye: And - lapped by the moon-guiled tide - Mock their carver with heart of stone, Caged in his stone-ribbed side.