Highlight Poetry is a meme created by Lace & Lavender Hints to celebrate a poem once a week.The sea is calm to-night.
by Matthew Arnold
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 Aegean, 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.
Some poems (and songs) I hear or read one quote randomly and then I have to go back and read the whole original. And then I end up loving the poem. It started with the last stanza of this poem for me - I heard it recited in a movie and loved that:
A) it begins "Ah, love" - a soft request made with a sigh to love - Brilliant
B) The way that the first sentence is broken into two lines - "let us be true" seems in itself a complete thought, but it is too simple as the second part reveals that it is more imperative to be true to your other half than:
C) all the the ideals that are set up and then dashed by the last three lines. Wow, devastating.
D) "Where ignorant armies clash by night" Kind of a completely appropriate line in general when thinking of armies.
Just an all around beautiful, thoughtful poem. And although I like the whole poem, I still really just love the last stanza!