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Best Famous Sea Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Edgar Allan Poe | |

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago 
In a kingdom by the sea 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that long ago In this kingdom by the sea A wind blew out of a cloud chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsman came And bore her away from me To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels not half so happy in heaven Went envying her and me- Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above Nor the demons down under the sea Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so all the night-tide I lie down by the side Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride In the sepulchre there by the sea In her tomb by the sounding sea.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

The City In the Sea

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West 
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around by lifting winds forgot Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently- Gleams up the pinnacles far and free- Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls- Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls- Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers- Up many and many a marvellous shrine Whose wreathed friezes intertwine The viol the violet and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idol's diamond eye- Not the gaily-jewelled dead Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl alas! Along that wilderness of glass- No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea- No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene.
But lo a stir is in the air! The wave- there is a movement there! As if the towers had thrust aside In slightly sinking the dull tide- As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow- The hours are breathing faint and low- And when amid no earthly moans Down down that town shall settle hence Hell rising from a thousand thrones Shall do it reverence.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star, 
And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
When I put out to sea, 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.


More great poems below...

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Tide Rises the Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls, 
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; 
Along the sea-sands damp and brown 
The traveller hastens toward the town, 
  And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls.


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.


by Edward Lear | |

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
  In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money
  Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, "O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!" Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl! How charmingly sweet you sing! O let us be married! too long we have tarried: But what shall we do for a ring?" They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-tree grows And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will.
" So they took it away, and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.


by John Greenleaf Whittier | |

Ichabod!

So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
     Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
     Forevermore!

Revile him not—the Tempter hath
     A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
     Befit his fall!

Oh! dumb be passion's stormy rage,
     When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
     Falls back in night.
Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark A bright soul driven, Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark, From hope and heaven! Let not the land, once proud of him, Insult him now, Nor brand with deeper shame his dim, Dishonored brow.
But let its humbled sons, instead, From sea to lake, A long lament, as for the dead, In sadness make.
Of all we loved and honored, nought Save power remains— A fallen angel's pride of thought, Still strong in chains.
All else is gone; from those great eyes The soul has fled: When faith is lost, when honor dies, The man is dead! Then, pay the reverence of old days To his dead fame; Walk backward, with averted gaze, And hide the shame!


by Sappho | |

To Atthis

My Atthis, although our dear Anaktoria
lives in distant Sardis,
she thinks of us constantly, and

of the life we shared in days when for her
you were a splendid goddess,
and your singing gave her deep joy.
Now she shines among Lydian women as when the red-fingered moon rises after sunset, erasing stars around her, and pouring light equally across the salt sea and over densely flowered fields; and lucent dew spreads on the earth to quicken roses and fragile thyme and the sweet-blooming honey-lotus.
Now while our darling wanders she thinks of lovely Atthis's love, and longing sinks deep in her breast.
She cries loudly for us to come! We hear, for the night's many tongues carry her cry across the sea.


by Emma Lazarus | |

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


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.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

The One in Paradise

THOU wast that all to me love 
For which my soul did pine --
A green isle in the sea love 
A fountain and a shrine 
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers 
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah dream too bright to last! Ah starry Hope! that didst arise But to be overcast! A voice from out the Future cries "On! on!" -- but o'er the Past (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies Mute motionless aghast! For alas! alas! with me The light of Life is o'er! No more -- no more -- no more -- (Such language holds the solemn sea To the sands upon the shore) Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree Or the stricken eagle soar! And all my days are trances And all my nightly dreams Are where thy grey eye glances And where thy footstep gleams -- In what ethereal dances By what eternal streams.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

A Farewell to False Love

Farewell false love, the oracle of lies, 
A mortal foe and enemy to rest, 
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise, 
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed, 
A way of error, a temple full of treason, 
In all effects contrary unto reason.
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers, Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose, A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers As moisture lend to every grief that grows; A school of guile, a net of deep deceit, A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend, A siren song, a fever of the mind, A maze wherein affection finds no end, A raging cloud that runs before the wind, A substance like the shadow of the sun, A goal of grief for which the wisest run.
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear, A path that leads to peril and mishap, A true retreat of sorrow and despair, An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure's lap, A deep mistrust of that which certain seems, A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.
Sith* then thy trains my younger years betrayed, [since] And for my faith ingratitude I find; And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed*, [revealed] Whose course was ever contrary to kind*: [nature] False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

To Helen

Helen thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore 
That gently o'er a perfumed sea 
The weary wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam Thy hyacinth hair thy classic face Thy Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like I see thee stand The agate lamp within thy hand! Ah Psyche from the regions which Are Holy Land!


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.


by Emily Dickinson | |

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

You Are Tired

You are tired 
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me then And we'll leave it far and far away- (Only you and I understand!) You have played (I think) And broke the toys you were fondest of And are a little tired now; Tired of things that break and- Just tired.
So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart- Open to me! For I will show you the places Nobody knows And if you like The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah come with me! I'll blow you that wonderful bubble the moon That floats forever and a day; I'll sing you the jacinth song Of the probable stars; I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream Until I find the Only Flower Which shall keep (I think) your little heart While the moon comes out of the sea.


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

Love is more thicker than forget

Love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

It's most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

Love is more always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less litter than forgive

It's most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky


by Sara Teasdale | |

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you, 
Not lost, although I long to be 
Lost as a candle lit at noon, 
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.
You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light.
Oh plunge me deep in love - put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.
New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety.
We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses.
I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's.
The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars.
And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons.
(1961)


by William Blake | |

To the Muses

WHETHER on Ida's shady brow 
Or in the chambers of the East  
The chambers of the Sun that now 
From ancient melody have ceased; 

Whether in heaven ye wander fair 5 
Or the green corners of the earth  
Or the blue regions of the air 
Where the melodious winds have birth; 

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove  
Beneath the bosom of the sea 10 
Wandering in many a coral grove; 
Fair Nine forsaking Poetry; 

How have you left the ancient love 
That bards of old enjoy'd in you! 
The languid strings do scarcely move 15 
The sound is forced the notes are few.


by Katherine Mansfield | |

Camomile Tea

Outside the sky is light with stars; 
There's a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers, The wind is shaking the almond tree.
How little I thought, a year ago, In the horrible cottage upon the Lee That he and I should be sitting so And sipping a cup of camomile tea.
Light as feathers the witches fly, The horn of the moon is plain to see; By a firefly under a jonquil flower A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.
We might be fifty, we might be five, So snug, so compact, so wise are we! Under the kitchen-table leg My knee is pressing against his knee.
Our shutters are shut, the fire is low, The tap is dripping peacefully; The saucepan shadows on the wall Are black and round and plain to see.


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 Emily Dickinson | |

I never saw a moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given.


by Wallace Stevens | |

The River of Rivers in Connecticut

There is a great river this side of Stygia
Before one comes to the first black cataracts
And trees that lack the intelligence of trees.
In that river, far this side of Stygia, The mere flowing of the water is a gayety, Flashing and flashing in the sun.
On its banks, No shadow walks.
The river is fateful, Like the last one.
But there is no ferryman.
He could not bend against its propelling force.
It is not to be seen beneath the appearances That tell of it.
The steeple at Farmington Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.
It is the third commonness with light and air, A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction .
.
.
Call it, one more, a river, an unnamed flowing, Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore Of each of the senses; call it, again and again, The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.


by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Rhodora - On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower

IN May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, 
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods, 
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, 
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool, 5 Made the black water with their beauty gay; Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 10 Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being: Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose! I never thought to ask, I never knew: But, in my simple ignorance, suppose 15 The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.