A snippet of Ulysses

Something about this poem tangled itself in my thought today.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew,
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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4 Comments

Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “A snippet of Ulysses

  1. geektechnique

    Wow, wonderful. Of course I have a weakness for any poetry regarding the sea. To steal a lyric from Death cab for cutie: I have come to learn that even land locked lovers yearn for the sea like sailor men.

    “Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

    Also, this poem goes along nicely with your latest “Art is contemplation” installment. You have inspired me to go re-read ulysses. I always try to live seeking that newer world. I do not want my savior to come and catch me standing upon the shore , too afraid to strive or to seek.

    “Bred as we, among the mountains,
    Can the sailor understand
    The divine intoxication
    Of the first league out from land?”
    -Emily Dickinson

    I like to think that our whole lives are that first league out from land.

  2. Sarah

    What a beautiful thought Ryan, that our whole lives are that first league out from land. You, in your turn, have inspired me to go read some Emily Dickinson again. Thanks for the quotes, those are beautiful, they remind me of a Loreena McKennit quote:

    “the ocean’s rhythms pull
    to hold your heart in its hand.”

    Thanks for writing!

  3. Nice passage, Sarah. And your one-line intro is a little bit wonderful, too. I think no poem should hope to achieve better result than that.

  4. Ryan, great insight on the stanza of Dickinson.

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