Man and the Sea
Free man! the sea is to thee ever dear!
The sea is thy mirror, thou regardest thy soul
In its mighteous waves that unendingly roll,
And thy spirit is yet not a chasm less drear.
Thou delight’st to plunge deep in thine image down;
Thou tak’st it with eyes and with arms in embrace,
And at times thine own inward voice would’st efface
With the sound of its savage ungovernable moan.
You are both of you, sombre, secretive and deep:
Oh mortal, thy depths are foraye unexplored,
Oh sea — no one knoweth thy dazzling hoard,
You both are so jealous your secrets to keep!
And endless ages have wandered by,
Yet still without pity or mercy you fight,
So mighty in plunder and death your delight:
Oh wrestlers! so constant in enmity!
Like angels with wild beast’s eyes
I shall return to your bedroom
And silently glide toward you
With the shadows of the night;
And, dark beauty, I shall give you
Kisses cold as the moon
And the caresses of a snake
That crawls around a grave.
When the livid morning comes,
You’ll find my place empty,
And it will be cold there till night.
I wish to hold sway over
Your life and youth by fear,
As others do by tenderness.
— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)