Poems, now first collected/Sargasso Weed


Out from the seething Stream
To the steadfast trade-wind's courses,
Over the bright vast swirl
Of a tide from evil free,—
Where the ship has a level beam,
And the storm has spent his forces,
And the sky is a hollow pearl
Curved over a sapphire sea.

Here it floats as of old,
Beaded with gold and amber,
Sea-frond buoyed with fruit,
Sere as the yellow oak,
Long since carven and scrolled,
Of some blue-ceiled Gothic chamber
Used to the viol and lute
And the ancient belfry's stroke.

Eddying far and still
In the drift that never ceases,
The dun Sargasso weed
Slips from before our prow,
And its sight makes strong our will,
As of old the Genoese's,
When he stood in his hour of need
On the Santa Maria's bow.

Ay, and the winds at play
Toy with these peopled islands,
Each of itself as well
Naught but a brave New World,
Where the crab and sea-slug stay
In the lochs of its tiny highlands,
And the nautilus moors his shell
With his sail and streamers furled.

Each floats ever and on
As the round green Earth is floating
Out through the sea of space
Bearing our mortal kind,
Parasites soon to be gone,
Whom others be sure are noting,
While to their astral race
We in our turn are blind.