Tag Archives: the ocean

Ships That Pass In The Night

Earlier today, a colleague who I haden’t seen for a couple of days sat next to me.
“Did you enjoy your leave?” I asked.
“I was working at home earlier in the week, then I was sitting at the other side of the office yesterday. We are like ships that pass in the night”, she replied laughing.

The phrase “ships that pass in the night” has always had a slight ring of melancholy beauty about it for me, and my colleague’s humorous remark caused me to go in search of poems on that theme. Below are 2 such poems, both of which are in the public domain:

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing;
I look far out into the pregnant night,
Where I can hear a solemn booming gun
And catch the gleaming of a random light,
That tells me that the ship I seek is passing, passing.

My tearful eyes my soul’s deep hurt are glassing;
For I would hail and check that ship of ships.
I stretch my hands imploring, cry aloud,
My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,
And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.

O Earth, O Sky, O Ocean, both surpassing,
O heart of mine, O soul that dreads the dark!
Is there no hope for me? Is there no way
That I may sight and check that speeding bark
Which out of sight and sound is passing, passing
(Paul Lawrence Dunbar)

Mermaid and Merman

“Our love is deep as the sea,
And There is such depth to you and me.
We go so far down,
We will in passion drown”,
(the mermaid said,
As she wriggled her toes,
On the ocean’s bed).

“Poseidon knows,
How the tide comes and goes,
My pretty rose”,
(I said,
With a shake of my head,
As I departed our briny bed).

Horribly Early

It is horribly early.
I can not sleep.
A bird tweets.
No feet
upon the street.
Cars pass
lost in distance vast.
I could return to bed
but I am awake
and doubt that sleep will take
me back
to be stretched upon the rack
of nightmare
and despair.
Sleep is a fickle friend.
Oft she doth pretend
to soothe the troubled mind
but man doth frequently find
in her arms that bind
a maelstrom of emotion
an ocean
where many are tossed
and forever lost