Sea Alchemy

(a Cento)

It was many and many a year ago,
in a kingdom by the sea,
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I have been here before,
but when or how I cannot tell;
my Life is measure’d by this glass, this glass.
One foot in Eden still, I stand
and look across the other land.

So it begins.

The sea is calm to-night,
the grey sea and the long black land;
and the yellow half-moon large and low,
blasted with sighs, and surrounded with tears.
A wind sways the pines,
and below
not a breath of wild air.
What in our lives is burnt
in the fire of this?
What would I give for a heart of flesh to warm me through,
instead of this heart of stone?

Many a hearth upon our dark globe sighs
had we but World enough, and Time.
Go, my songs, to the lonely and the unsatisfied,
Go, soul, the body’s guest,
Let us go hence, my songs;
Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss.
They flee from me that sometime did me seek;
I leave this
at your ear for when you wake.



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7 Responses to Sea Alchemy

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    Prompted by
    and patchworked verbatim from the first lines of (listed in no particular order):
    Edgar Allan Poe (Annabel Lee), Theordore Roethke (The Wakening) Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Sudden Light), James Agee (So it begins. Adam is in his earth), Matthew Arnold (Dover Beach), Robert Browning (Meeting at Night), John Donne (Twicknam Garden), George Meredith (Dirge in Woods),George Meredith (Dirge in Woods), Edwin Muir (One foot in Eden), Isaac Rosenberg (August 1914), Christina Rossetti (What Would I Give?), Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Vastness), Andrew Marvell (To His Coy Mistress), Ezra Pound (Commission), Sir Walter Ralegh (The Lie), Algernon Charles Swinburne (A Leave-Taking), Thomas Nashe (Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss), W.S. Graham (I leave this at your ear for when you wake), John Hall (On an Hour-Glass), Sir Thomas Wyatt (They flee from me that sometime did me seek)

  2. Amazing poem to write! I recognized the first lines from Stevie Nicks’ CD, In Your Dreams, as she wrote music for Annabel Lee. Blessings, Ellen

  3. Mary says:

    Wow, I am definitely impressed with how you wrote this poem, using lines from so many different poets. Bravo!

  4. K. McGee says:

    Take a bow! Fantastic use of lines.

  5. Shawna says:

    Love this: “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow”

  6. Amazing!!! So seamless! I so enjoyed this and delving in to your list of inspirations! Thank you, De!!

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