A Coast-Nightmare

I have a friend in ghostland —
Early found, ah me, how early lost! —
Blood-red seaweeds drip along that coastland
By the strong sea wrenched and tossed.
In every creek there slopes a dead man's islet,
And such an one in every bay;
All unripened in the unended twilight:
For there comes neither night nor day.

Unripe harvest there hath none to reap it
From the watery misty place;
Unripe vineyard there hath none to keep it
In unprofitable space.
Living flocks and herds are nowhere found there;
Only ghosts in flocks and shoals:
Indistinguished hazy ghosts surround there
Meteors whirling on their poles;
Indistinguished hazy ghosts abound there;
Troops, yea swarms, of dead men's souls. —

Have they towns to live in? —
They have towers and towns from sea to sea;
Of each town the gates are seven;
Of one of these each ghost is free.
Civilians, soldiers, seamen,
Of one town each ghost is free:
They are ghastly men those ghostly freemen:
Such a sight may you not see. —

How know you that your lover
Of death's tideless waters stoops to drink? —
Me by night doth mouldy darkness cover,
It makes me quake to think:
All night long I feel his presence hover
Thro' the darkness black as ink.

Without a voice he tells me
The wordless secrets of death's deep:
If I sleep, his trumpet voice compels me
To stalk forth in my sleep:
If I wake, he hunts me like a nightmare;
I feel my hair stand up, my body creep:
Without light I see a blasting sight there,
See a secret I must keep.
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