Sea Heroes

Crash on crash of the sea,
straining to wreck men, sea-boards, continents,
raging against the world, furious,
stay at last, for against your fury
and your mad fight,
the line of heroes stands, god-like:

Akroneos, Oknolos, Elatreus,
helm-of-boat, loosener-of-helm, dweller-by-sea,
Nauteus, sea-man,
Prumneos, stern-of-ship,
Agchialos, sea-girt,
Elatreus, oar-shaft:
lover-of-the-sea, lover-of-the-sea-ebb,
Ponteus, Proreus, Ooos:
Anabesneos, one caught between
wave-shock and wave-shock:
Furualos, broad sea-wrack,
like Ares, man's death,
and Naubolides, best in shape,
of all first in size:
Phaekous, seas' thunderbolt —
ah, crash on crash of great names
man-tamer, man's-help, perfect Laodamos:
and last the sons of great Alkinoos,
Laodamos, Halios and god-like Clytomeos.

Of all nations, of all cities,
of all continents,
she is favoured among the rest,
for she gives men as great as the sea,
valorous to the fight,
to battle against the elements and evil:
greater even than the sea,
they live beyond wrack and death of cities,
and each god-like name spoken
is as a shrine in a godless place
But to name you,
we reverent are breathless,
weak with pain and old loss,
and exile and despair —
our hearts break but to speak
your name, Oknaleos —
and may we but call you in the feverish wrack
of our storm-strewn beach, Eretmeos,
and our hurt is quiet and our hearts tamed,
as the sea may yet be tamed,
and we vow to float great ships,
named for each hero,
and oar-blades, cut out of mountain-trees
as such men might have shaped:
Eretmeos and the sea is swept,
baffled by the lordly shape,
Akroneos has pines for his ship's keel;
to love, to mate the sea?
Ah there is Ponteos,
the very deeps roar,
hailing you dear —
they clamour to Ponteos,
and to Proeos
leap, swift to kiss, to curl, to creep,
lover to mistress

What wave, what love, what foam,
for Ooos who moves swift as the sea?
Ah stay, my heart, the weight
of lovers, of loneliness
drowns me,
alas that their very names
so press to break my heart
with heart-sick weariness,
what would they be,
the very gods,
rearing their mighty length
beside the unharvested sea?
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.