Sea Cycle

Clark Ashton Smith

Below the duff, before the granite stair,
The foam-crests curl and feather in blue air,
Numberless as the helmet-plumes of hosts
Resurgent from millenium-foundered coasts.
The billows, wreathed with sea-weed and sea-flower,
Mount landward from the mermaid's plundered bower,
And shells and pebbles, torn from sunken strands,
Shift idly on the rainbow-haunted sands.
The slow tide stirs, amid the nether main,
The sluggish treasure-galleons of Spain;
And surely, if we wait and watch awhile,
The spars of galleys cast on the Sirens' isle,
Or broken on Saturnia's iron keys,
Will swirl before us from the cyclic seas. . . .

Dear, shall I pray the gulf's great deity,
Nodens, to bring once more for you and me
Some love-relinquished hour we could not save
That westered all too swiftly to the wave,
Ebbing between the cypress and the grass?
Though prayer be vain, this thing shall come to pass,
For still the solemn cycles wane and flow,
Bringing again the lost and long ago.
All that the sea has taken, the sea restores:
Somehow, somewhere, on ocean-winnowed shores,
Again we two shall wander, and shall not stay,
Finding the golden wrack of yesterday.

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