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The poem is a kind of romance and a deeply spiritual poem with profound and hidden meaning, and hence it is also mysterious in its beauty. The theme is the salvation of people from earthly bondage through the love for truth and beauty.

The Man Of The Sea

Img_0071by Richard Paulson 02 Jun 2020

Sitting upon a silent shore
Looking out to sea,
A man out of the depths did draw
An eternity.

The sparkling waters on him broke
With sweet emotion;
The unceasing waves did evoke
An endless ocean.

He gazed upon the wooded shore,
And the leafless trees
Pointed toward forevermore,
Piercing sunny seas.

The clouds broke gently with weeping,
And he looking up
Felt pillowed there as if sleeping,
Like a golden cup.

Filled with the dewy rays and wet
With the beaming tears,
He watched as the sun slowly set
As a ship appears.

Like a ship it sailed as on fire,
And there stood calling,
Its flames the sweetness of a lyre,
With the waves falling.

It burned the horizon and shone,
Yet it did not sink,
But in stillness stood and yearned, on
Eternity’s brink.

And he wondered at this grand sight,
Why it did not sink,
Till the waves felt his feet alight,
Walking to the brink.

He leaped like lightning from afar,
Stepping on the sea,
So it beckoning like a star,
Stood eternally;

On the horizon there, peeping,
Floating on the sea,
While the man walked on and weeping,
For eternity.

In stride, he fast followed the sun,
So that it sunk not;
The sun flew, round the earth it spun,
And he burned as hot.

And though he felt himself walking,
He sat by the sea,
While he strode across there, leaping,
For eternity.

He remembered not for how long,
For there it did last
Like an eternal lovely song
From an endless past.

But waking to the morning light
After the night long,
There burned in him a strange delight
Of faith full and strong.

He stood; he walked toward the sea;
The waves of the shore
Like a lady’s heart beat wildly
And him did adore.

In her waves the locks of hair shone,
And glistening sweet
His heart in her tresses was gone –
They broke at his feet.

Upon them, foaming fingertips
Washes from the world,
As she kisses them with her lips,
And wipes with hair curled.

He heard her murmuring lips speak,
After the pounding,
He sunk with her waves just as weak,
Her tears surrounding.

Longingly like a harp she called,
Like the rustling leaves
Of Paradise in winds enthralled,
That for lover grieves;

Like the music of a fountain,
Like a warbling bird,
Like drums in a distant mountain,
Like songs he once heard;

Like songs from long ago, when young,
When in sleepy haze
Under cooling nights, the stars sung,
And he in amaze

Drifted among them far above,
Awake and sleeping,
With both these worlds twilight in love,
Smiling and weeping.

He stepped into the sounds, her sighs
Sank, but then her breast
Heaved, and thereupon as he lies
Her fingers caressed.

And rising, he stood upon them,
Her hands held him fast;
She placed him like a diadem
Or like a flag on a ship’s mast;

Upon her wavy locks she wore
A crown of glory,
And holding to the winds she bore
A flag flying free.

“Ah, at last I shall have such peace,”
He said with content,
“Like these waves it shall never cease.”
And there walking went

He over the sea; on waves’ crest
Tranquilly he rode,
His soul like a babe in a nest,
Waves lifting his load.

So light his cares he there possessed
A calm-floating ease,
And there the sea itself had rest,
Its fire he did seize.

Its sapphire flames, its crystal light
Into his soul sank,
Its leaping waves of fiery bright
He steadily drank.

And as he sailed, walking the seas,
Like a gem he burned,
And like in prayer upon their knees
The sea with him yearned.

Into the horizon they stretched,
Where the sun followed;
Upon them both the sun was etched
And for them sorrowed.

The sun gazed at the man in flames,
As if in wonder,
How his soul the sea itself tames,
Its waves of thunder.

The sun to the horizon sprawled
His long warm fingers;
Through clouds as they parted, he called,
And there he lingers,

With his hand on the horizon,
Painting peach the sky,
Till the painted pictures wizen
The man’s seeing eye.

The bearded bards that there appears
In clouds that glisten,
Warn of things that toward him nears,
That he should listen.

Nonetheless the man undaunted,
Crowned the shining sea,
Unafraid of oceans haunted
For eternity;

Unafraid of those that here sailed
Like him long ago,
But the endless destiny failed
And found only woe.

The sun wondered as the man shone,
Why he did not sink;
At world’s end he seemed hanging on
Eternity’s brink.

Who is this man who walks the seas?
Dark arms from the deep
Reach out from their captivities,
And ghoulish eyes peep

From beneath the beautiful waves,
Black with dark despair;
Their bony, lusting fingers craves
The soul of him there.

And up reaching with eager grasp
And soul piecing stare,
They seek his life and heart to clasp
Within their nightmare.

Yet here he walks undaunted still,
Amidst the wretches,
And with sword-eyes he does them kill,
And fierce wrath fetches.

For the dead are dead and assail
More vehemently,
As his fiery eyes so impale
Them into the sea;

As with every beautiful glance
They sink silently,
But rise up and with looks entrance
Into reverie

His soul; as through the sapphire blue,
Fascinating eyes
Dead and alive, withered yet new,
Resplendent like skies,

Yet dreary, aching, ugly grey,
Possess his fair mind;
And with lidless stare grasp their prey –
Eyes which through depths find

Him gazing back more unaware.
And in dreams they bind
His soul, till their ghastly smiles stare;
Till bone-fingers grind,

And lonely arms like serpent coils
Stretch forth from the sea.
Hungrily the claws of lust toils
Striking at the knee;

Reaching in a swarm around him,
His soul to capture,
To crush and thrust toward the rim
Of nightmare’s rapture.

For an age he seemed there to dwell
Like a hunted dove,
Till the sea, sad for him, did swell
With eternal love.

So he fell not into their pit,
But there on the verge
Stared into the horror of it,
Held upon love’s surge.

But the image that it did cast
In a moment’s glare,
Seemed for eternity to last
As he walked on there;

Away from the reach and the grip
Of the deep nightmare,
While entranced there fell from his lip
Wailing on the air.

And calling him, the raging dead
Foamed upon the sea;
On winds their moaning voices bled
For eternity.

“Come back, come back, and let us gaze,”
They all seemed to say,
“Sink into our eyes and their blaze,
Melt your soul away.”

And while he rode the waves, wailing,
Into the ocean
Them he ever kept impaling
With pained emotion;

While with haunting apparitions
They ever appeared,
Stretched upon the sea in visions,
Though through them he steered.

For what he glimpsed on the sea’s edge,
For what he was lured
To see, as on a mountain ledge
Staring, he endured

Like a star shining in the sky,
Like a diamond glow,
Like a waterfall’s ceaseless sigh,
With the same bright show.

For horrors that make pale, paled more,
Till seeing the sight
Made him even in ghosts adore,
The endless delight.

“For though a century of this
Should pass, most gladly
I would endure for a brief kiss
Of eternity.”

He marched on like the centuries,
Like a brave army,
Like a wave upon endless seas,
Like a harmony

That no assailing winds can break,
That though it may sink,
Smiling leaves behind in its wake,
Eternity’s brink.

The sight on the sea’s horizon,
The vision of bliss,
Does with no end ever widen,
And there his soul is.

His soul, the summer’s flowering,
Myriads of stars,
The piping of the dawn’s starling,
Without doors and bars,

That limitless freedom stretches,
Like waves of a song,
A soul eternity sketches
On winds all along.

And captured in distant breezes
On board sailing ship,
Whereon a fair lady seizes,
Echoes on her lip,

Singing his soul on waves, along
Paths toward a star
That twinkles, like her lips and song,
Like a guide afar.

The star that he on ocean is,
The star that looks fair
In her eyes, as they sparkling kiss
Him through mists of air;

Till the wondrous feeling of this
Reminds of a past
Moment, a lovely, distant bliss,
As shadows are cast;

When under a green canopy
She gazed through bright leaves,
And lay seeing the wide sky-sea
That with green sparks weaves

A joy free and mesmerizing;
Till the memory
Evoked by this strange star rising
Sparkled in the sea.

She wonders in the twilight morn,
At sun on sea’s edge,
In her heart a wild love is born
And swiftly she moves, like a sledge

On ice toward the captain’s room,
Her heart near freezing,
Like winter’s end when flowers bloom,
The sunlight seizing.

When she enters he stares upward
At her longing look;
She answers him without a word
With a flowing brook.

“Hold to this path and do not stray,”
She tells the captain,
“Sail toward that star far away.”
“But what of the men

Sworn to bring their queen safely home,
That she might then reign
And no more to new countries roam?
And what will you gain?”

“Am I not a loyal princess?
Is not my country
My life, and all that I possess
My crowning beauty?

Surely, the earth may split apart,
But my sworn duty
Shall not tear away from my heart,
By this shining sea!”

The captain smiles, his heart aglow,
For her beauty shines;
She sees the last of winter’s snow,
And for summer pines.

A course is set toward wonder;
The ship beats the waves
And summer’s eve tears asunder
The cold ocean graves.

The dead are disturbed by her light,
By her glowing thought
That burned thawing the winter night,
And that breezes caught;

When her song in whispers echoed,
Even in sea shells
On shores to them whose hearts unload,
And listening swells.

Yet this same song’s sweet siren calls
Is heavy burden,
Upon the dead on which it falls,
Whose nightmare ridden

Souls can bear no more of sweetness
Than the broken reed
Can bear rock, or dry wilderness
Drought in direst need.

They rise up from the depths to kill
The tormenting sound;
The swift phantoms follow until
She sees them around

Gliding upon the sea, gazing,
With eyes as hollow
As deep caverns; and she standing
On deck sees their woe.

The song upon the sea echoes
Still, and growing more
Upon the winds in whispers, flows
Toward distant shore.

Star gazing wanderers listen,
Capture in breezes
His soul on the waves that glisten,
Falling on beaches,

Falling like the sound of a lyre,
Upon them dying,
Breaking upon them like a choir
Of angels sighing.

They look out upon the ocean,
Listen to echoes
In seashells till his emotion
Stirs in them and grows,

Till the sweet siren song’s rapture
Captivates the shores,
And those of a loving nature
To endlessness draws.

And on the horizon there peeps
A beauty untold,
That the soul-song of the man weeps
And sea-tears unfold

In rolling waves upon their feet,
Washing from the world,
The sea herself making them sweet,
Her locks round them curled.

The crystal waters touch their toes,
And dreamily they
Step onto them in soft repose
And sail far away.

The princess sees them from afar,
Like dreams in the night,
Sings again of the wondrous star,
Glimpsing pure delight

Even in ghosts which she endures;
The horizon’s bliss
The evil dread assailing cures,
With dream’s twinkling kiss.

And even in the fearful dead
Surrounding her there,
The blissful star stronger than dread
Rises, twinkling fair.

Though like dusk the dead quickly creep,
Like sun going down,
Though they fall on her like a sleep,
Like winter leaves brown;

Falling on her like soft twilight,
Half real, half a dream,
Like an eclipse bringing the night
Shadows with a gleam

Of hope’s halo surrounding light;
Though their voices howl,
Though the day is turned into fright
And round her they prowl.

The distant walkers upon seas
Hear the siren call;
They keep burning, till on their knees
Aching fingers crawl;

Till many days in a strange realm
Sailed the roving ship,
Its crew, the captain at the helm,
Fleeing nightmare’s grip.

The man sees the ship floating by,
Sees her in distress;
From afar her pearl twinkling eye
Does his soul possess.

The same twinkling at the sea’s end
Sparkles from the ship,
The twinkling that soul and stars rend
In her parting lip.

The mystery star on the deep
Which she sees and sings,
Smiles with her and with her does weep,
Like bird’s beating wings.

Sorrow and joy mix together,
And united fly,
Toward sea’s end to discover
In troughs, joy peaks high.

The princess, swelling and sighing,
At one with his soul,
Heaves with joy, yet prefers dying
That beauty might roll

Never to break, ever to grow
With endless swelling,
And with wild beating ever show
Joy, in death’s knelling.

Death’s knelling, joy’s swelling in shells
On distant seashore,
In echoed sounds her soul-song tells
Of forevermore.

The sweet song of a soul’s selfless
Desire, that worships
Beauty, not so it may possess
It, but with love-lips

Kiss it soaring upon the wing,
See it on the brink,
And for a moment then, kissing
It, to see it sink

Over the edge of a great deep,
Bid it sweet goodbye,
Drift far into an endless sleep
And blissfully die.

Dying only to rise the more,
Dying for beauty,
Till the seashells on the seashore,
Calls many to sea,

Calling more star-wanderers there,
To them with great woes,
To hear and lose sorrow and care
In far off echoes.

The dead reel to and fro and fall;
They sorrowing sink
At her siren song’s starlit call;
Her song at the brink

Of eternity. And the man,
With desire to save
Ceases the horizon to scan,
And like swelling wave

He rides over the dead – like fire,
Singing with her soul;
Riding toward her like a lyre,
With the waves that roll.

Till like their wild harmonious strings
Upon her falling,
His arms swirling around her brings
A sweeter calling.

And on the ship with waves he finds
Her embracing him;
Like two stars joining, their light blinds
Grey eyes void and grim.

And those that sleepwalk from afar
Gaze at the embrace,
See two joined in tears as one star
Midst a flood of grace.

The dead glimpse the oncoming storm
Of seafaring men,
And like snow melts before the warm,
Like foam on ocean

They sink, melting like drops away;
Like bubbles they burst,
Fade to nothing, like ocean spray
In wild winds immersed.

The man into her soul gazes,
And she sees the bliss,
A far away glow amazes
In his eyes soft kiss.

And her mouth like petals open,
Her ripe ruby lips,
The fruit of her soul, like ocean
Swells and gently dips

Into his soul, like sweet cherries
Into his sweet mouth;
His soul the summer’s long drought flees
Like birds going south;

Her luscious fruits along the way
His loving heart fill,
Till in her dewy eyes he lay
And dewdrops stood still,

Hanging upon her eyelids – where
He treasured to be,
Never to fall, but to rest there
In tears’ endless sea;

To be her grandest emotion,
To be thereon held,
To be her eyes one devotion,
From eyelids not felled.

Not felled by another longing,
And not brushed away
By another’s sweetest strumming;
And so, there he lay,

And she with him, in his own eyes,
Till neither could weep,
Till hanging tears more greatly cries
In still beauty’s deep.

Their tears like waves of the ocean,
Coming forever
In rhythmic, swelling emotion,
Breaking together.

Their eyelids are but the seashore,
Where tears melting make
Waves that glisten forevermore,
And with morning break.

In their constant falling, they sigh
For horizon’s bliss,
For in tears’ waves there they draw nigh,
In their every kiss.

And so does the world – the poorest
Walking on the sea;
In their constant kissing they’re blessed
With eternity.

With eternity on the brink
Of their shining eyes,
Wherein her earthly kingdoms sink,
And in them the skies

Turn into blue waves far below;
For they, stars sailing,
Like a ship on fire and aglow,
Yet never sinking,

Guide beyond all earthly concern
The world’s loving poor,
Who each in turn, toward them burn,
Loving beauty more.

“Oh” says the man, “if you had not
Married me with eyes,
If you’d chosen your earthly lot
Of riches, to prize

Your royal position and crown,
You would have been poor,
And these stars would still be cast down,
Who see evermore.”