Dover Beach

8

 

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; – on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
And down below devoid of fear
Like moles they scurry, cling
Beneath a lorry, in the cavern of a refrigerator truck
hold their heartbeats
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in:
masking breath, blood roar in ears,
the silence of the long, long sigh

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
hear the ebb and flow of human misery and
have brought to our mind the Aegean
where once the contraband was fags floating in upon the tide
a nice little earner, but how we cried
foul – until this foulness

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright sleeping bag girdled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world – a soup kitchen
A second hand sweatshirt, a bible in a foreign tongue, credit
For a G4 sim, access to the internet, the wood from Dismaland

Ah, for love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash,
Spew out another cowled and hoodied wave

 

 

Matthew Arnold/ Dave Reeves
Painting by Turner “The raft of the Medusa”

 

 


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