The Swimmer Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


With short sharp violent lights made vividA
To southward far as the sight can roamB
Only the swirl of the surges lividC
The seas that climb and the surfs that combB
Only the crag and the cliff to nor'wardD
And the rocks receding and reefs flung forwardE
And waifs wreck'd seaward and wasted shorewardE
On shallows sheeted with flaming foamB
A grim grey coast and a seaboard ghastlyF
And shores trod seldom by feet of menG
Where the batter'd hull and the broken mast lieH
They have lain embedded these long years tenG
Love when we wander'd here togetherI
Hand in hand through the sparkling weatherI
From the heights and hollows of fern and heatherI
God surely loved us a little thenG
The skies were fairer and shores were firmerI
The blue sea over the bright sand roll'dJ
Babble and prattle and ripple and murmurI
Sheen of silver and glamour of goldJ
And the sunset bath'd in the gulf to lend herI
A garland of pinks and of purples tenderI
A tinge of the sun god's rosy splendourI
A tithe of his glories manifoldJ
Man's works are graven cunning and skilfulH
On earth where his tabernacles areI
But the sea is wanton the sea is wilfulH
And who shall mend her and who shall marI
Shall we carve success or record disasterI
On the bosom of her heaving alabasterI
Will her purple pulse beat fainter or fasterI
For fallen sparrow or fallen starI
I would that with sleepy soft embracesK
The sea would fold me would find me restL
In luminous shades of her secret placesM
In depths where her marvels are manifestL
So the earth beneath her should not discoverI
My hidden couch nor the heaven above herI
As a strong love shielding a weary loverI
I would have her shield me with shining breastL
When light in the realms of space lay hiddenN
When life was yet in the womb of timeO
Ere flesh was fettered to fruits forbiddenN
And souls were wedded to care and crimeO
Was the course foreshaped for the future spiritP
A burden of folly a void of meritP
That would fain the wisdom of stars inheritP
And cannot fathom the seas sublimeO
Under the sea or the soil what matterI
The sea and the soil are under the sunN
As in the former days in the latterI
The sleeping or waking is known of noneN
Surely the sleeper shall not awakenN
To griefs forgotten or joys forsakenN
For the price of all things given and takenN
The sum of all things done and undoneN
Shall we count offences or coin excusesK
Or weigh with scales the soul of a manQ
Whom a strong hand binds and a sure hand loosesK
Whose light is a spark and his life a spanQ
The seed he sow'd or the soil he cumber'dP
The time he served or the space he slumber'dP
Will it profit a man when his days are number'dP
Or his deeds since the days of his life beganQ
One glad because of the light saith Shall notP
The righteous Judge of all the earth do rightP
For behold the sparrows on the house tops fall notP
Save as seemeth to Him good in His sightP
And this man's joy shall have no abidingR
Through lights departing and lives dividingR
He is soon as one in the darkness hidingR
One loving darkness rather than lightP
A little season of love and laughterI
Of light and life and pleasure and painS
And a horror of outer darkness afterI
And dust returneth to dust againG
Then the lesser life shall be as the greaterI
And the lover of life shall join the haterI
And the one thing cometh sooner or laterI
And no one knoweth the loss or gainS
Love of my life we had lights in seasonN
Hard to part from harder to keepT
We had strength to labour and souls to reasonN
And seed to scatter and fruits to reapT
Though time estranges and fate dispersesK
We have had our loves and our loving merciesK
Though the gifts of the light in the end are cursesK
Yet bides the gift of the darkness sleepT
See girt with tempest and wing'd with thunderI
And clad with lightning and shod with sleetP
The strong winds treading the swift waves sunderI
The flying rollers with frothy feetP
One gleam like a bloodshot sword blade swims onU
The sky line staining the green gulf crimsonN
A death stroke fiercely dealt by a dim sunN
That strikes through his stormy winding sheetP
Oh brave white horses you gather and gallopV
The storm sprite loosens the gusty reinsK
Now the stoutest ship were the frailest shallopV
In your hollow backs or your high arch'd manesK
I would ride as never a man has riddenN
In your sleepy swirling surges hiddenN
To gulfs foreshadow'd through straits forbiddenN
Where no light wearies and no love wanesK

Adam Lindsay Gordon


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