Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

I have been doing a lot of clearing out recently, anticipating that sometime (supposedly quite soon, though one never knows with EQC) we will have to pack up everything and move ourselves and our belongings out of our house for two months or more while our earthquake repairs are done.

Going through old exercise books, I discovered one in which I had written poems to read to the children (long since grown up). Among them was this one.

Henry Longfellow is now regarded as a minor poet, but was enormously popular and successful in the nineteenth century. He is perhaps best known now for his Song of Hiawatha, which, along with other long narrative poems, played a major part in his success in his lifetime. This small gem above is less narrative and more lyrical. The repetition of sounds in it appeals to me - the rhymes for "falls", alliteration such as the "steeds in their stalls" which "stamp" and so on.

Tuesday Poem has been celebrating its third birthday over the past few weeks, and many of the Tuesday Poets have contributed a stanza to the birthday poem which can be found on the main hub site. Check it out, and check the side bar for more Tuesday poets' blogs.

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