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Famous Surf Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Surf poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous surf poems. These examples illustrate what a famous surf poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Mayakovsky, Vladimir
nuzzling against the rain, 
my face pressed against its pitted face, 
I wait, 
splashed by the city¡¯s thundering surf. 

Then midnight, amok with a knife, 
caught up, 
cut him down ¨C 
out with him! 

The stroke of twelve fell 
like a head from a block. 

On the windowpanes, grey raindrops 
howled together, 
piling on a grimace 
as though the gargoyles 
of Notre Dame were howling. 

Damn you! 
Isn¡¯t that enough? 
Screams will soon claw my...Read more of this...

by Poe, Edgar Allan therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore 
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand ---
How few! Yet how they creep
Throngh my fingers to the deep 
While I weep --- while I weep!
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream....Read more of this...

by Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
...Long long I lay in the sands

Sounds of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
And an even greater undersound
of a vast confusion in the universe
a rumbling and a roaring
as of some enormous creature turning
under sea and earth
a billion sotto voices murmuring
a vast muttering
a swelling stuttering
in ocean's speakers
world's voice-box heard with ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life's...Read more of this...

by Neruda, Pablo
...ween your breasts and your feet,
come like a river
full of drowned men
which flows down to the wild sea,
to the eternal surf, to Time!

Bring them all
to where I am waiting for you;
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be you and I
alone on earth
to start our life!...Read more of this...

by Desnos, Robert
Silence? We still know the passwords.
Lost sentinels far from the watch fires
We smell the odor of honeysuckle and surf
Rising in the dark shadows.

Distance, let dawn leap the void at last,
And a single beam of light make a rainbow on the water
Its quiver full of reeds,
Sign of the return of archers and patriotic songs....Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
...en yet awhile.

A little space he let his greedy eyes
Rest on the burnished image, till mere sight
Half swooned for surfeit of such luxuries,
And then his lips in hungering delight
Fed on her lips, and round the towered neck
He flung his arms, nor cared at all his passion's will to check.

Never I ween did lover hold such tryst,
For all night long he murmured honeyed word,
And saw her sweet unravished limbs, and kissed
Her pale and argent body undisturbed,
And paddled...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
And, as they died on his lips, the worthy notary entered.


Bent like a laboring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean,
Bent, but not broken, by age was the form of the notary public;
Shocks of yellow hair, like the silken floss of the maize, hung
Over his shoulders; his forehead was high; and glasses with horn bows
Sat astride on his nose, with a look of wisdom supernal.
Father of twenty children was he, and more than a hundred
Children's children rode...Read more of this...

by Nash, Ogden
...I didn't go to church today,
I trust the Lord to understand.
The surf was swirling blue and white,
The children swirling on the sand.
He knows, He knows how brief my stay,
How brief this spell of summer weather,
He knows when I am said and done
We'll have plenty of time together....Read more of this...

by Jeffers, Robinson
On the gray rock, by the grooved mass of the ocean, the
 sicknesses I left behind me concern me?

Here where the surf has come incredible ways out of the splendid
 west, over the deeps
Light nor life sounds forever; here where enormous sundowns
 flower and burn through color to quietness;

Then the ecstasy of the stars is present? As for the people, I
 have found my rock, let them find theirs.
Let them lie down at Caesar's feet and be saved; and he in his
 time rea...Read more of this...

by Silverstein, Shel your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall)....Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt mother’s, sister’s, voices;) 
The rain, the growing corn, the breeze among the long-leav’d corn, 
The measur’d sea-surf, beating on the sand,
The twittering bird, the hawk’s sharp scream, 
The wild-fowl’s notes at night, as flying low, migrating north or south, 
The psalm in the country church, or mid the clustering trees, the open air camp-meeting, 
The fiddler in the tavern—the glee, the long-strung sailor-song, 
The lowing cattle, bleating sheep—the crowing cock at da...Read more of this...

by Berman, David

If squeezed for more information
I can remember old clock radios
with flipping metal numbers
and an entree called Surf and Turf.

As a way of getting in touch with my origins
every night I set the alarm clock
for the time I was born so that waking up
becomes a historical reenactment and the first thing I do
 is take a reading of the day and try to flow with it like
 when you're riding a mechanical bull and you strain to learn
 the pattern quickly so you don't inadve...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
 howls of dismay—they grow fainter and fainter. 

I cannot aid with my wringing fingers, 
I can but rush to the surf, and let it drench me and freeze upon me. 

I search with the crowd—not one of the company is wash’d to us alive; 
In the morning I help pick up the dead and lay them in rows in a barn.

Now of the older war-days, the defeat at Brooklyn, 
Washington stands inside the lines—he stands on the intrench’d hills, amid a
 crowd of
His fa...Read more of this...

by Lazarus, Emma
...ating upon a swelling wave of sound, 
We seemed to overlook an endless sea: 
Poised 'twixt clear heavens and glittering surf were we. 
We drank the air in flight: we knew no bound 
To the audacious ventures of desire. 
Nigh us the sun was dropping, drowned in gold; 
Deep, deep below the burning billows rolled; 
And all the sea sang like a smitten lyre. 
Oh, the wild voices of those chanting waves! 
The human faces glimpsed beneath the tide! 
Familiar eyes gazed fr...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...nothing can bind, 
And the magic charm of foreign lands, 
With shadows of palms, and shining sands, 
Where the tumbling surf, 
O'er the coral reefs of Madagascar, 
Washes the feet of the swarthy Lascar, 
As he lies alone and asleep on the turf. 
And the trembling maiden held her breath 
At the tales of that awful, pitiless sea, 
With all its terror and mystery, 
The dim, dark sea, so like unto Death, 
That divides and yet unites mankind! 
And whenever the old man paused, ...Read more of this...

by Seeger, Alan
...this antique tower
The bougainvillea hangs a crimson crown,
Wistaria-vines and clematis in flower,
Wreathing the lower surface further down,
Hide the old plaster in a very shower
Of motley blossoms like a broidered gown.
Outside, ascending from the garden grove,
A crumbling stairway winds to the one room above.

And whoso mounts by this dismantled stair
Finds the old pleasure-hall, long disarrayed,
Brick-tiled and raftered, and the walls foursquare
Ringed all about w...Read more of this...

by Turner Smith, Charlotte
...ggling light
Throws a faint gleam upon the troubled waves;
Their foaming tops, as they approach the shore
And the broad surf that never ceasing breaks
On the innumerous pebbles, catch the beams
Of the pale Sun, that with reluctance gives
To this cold northern Isle, its shorten'd day.
Alas! how few the morning wakes to joy!
How many murmur at oblivious night
For leaving them so soon; for bearing thus
Their fancied bliss (the only bliss they taste!),
On her black wings away...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...r high, in main or bay, 
On their course she hath no sway. 
The rock unworn its base doth bare, 
And looks o'er the surf, but it comes not there; 
And the fringe of the foam may be seen below, 
On the line that it left long ages ago: 
A smooth short space of yellow sand 
Between it and the greener land. 

He wander'd on, along the beach, 
Till within the range of a carbine's reach 
Of the leaguer'd wall; but they saw him not, 
Or how could he 'scape from the hostile s...Read more of this...

by Crowley, Aleister
Surely in the circle millions 
Of immaculate pavilions 
Flash upon the trembling turf 
Like the sea-stars in the surf -
Millions of bejewelled tents 
For the warrior sacraments. 
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster, 
Grows the stature of the master; 
All the ringed encampment vies 
With the infinite galaxies. 
In the midst a cubic stone 
With the Devil set thereon; 
Hath a lamb's virginal throat; 
Hath the body of a stoat; 
Hath the buttocks of a goat; 
Hath the san...Read more of this...

by Collins, Billy on my lap
under a halo of lamplight,
a book like this always has a way
of soothing the nerves,
quieting the riotous surf of information
that foams around my waist
even though it never mentions
the silent labors of the poor,
the daydreams of grocers and tailors,
or the faces of men and women alone in single rooms-

even though it never mentions my mother,
now that I think of her again,
who only last year rolled off the edge of the earth
in her electric bed,
in her smooth p...Read more of this...

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