John Reed Internet Archive

Love at Sea

First Published: May 1916, The Masses
Transcribed: Sally Ryan January, 2001

Wind smothers the snarling of the great ships,
And the serene gulls are stronger than turbines;
Mile upon mile the hiss of a stumbling wave breaks unbroken—
Yet stronger is the power of your lips for my lips.

This cool green liquid death shall toss us living
Higher than high heaven and deeper than sighs—
But O the abrupt, stiff, sloping, resistless foam
Shall not forbid our taking and our giving!

Life wrenched from its roots-What wretchedness!
What waving of lost tentacles like blind sea-things!
Even the still ooze beneath is quick and profound—
I am less and more than I was, you are more and less.

I cried upon God last night, and God was not where I cried;
He was slipping and balancing on the thoughtless shifting planes of sea.
Careless and cruel, he will unchain the appalling sea-gray engines—
But the speech of your body to my body will not be denied!