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Monday, 16 March 2009

Dover Beach (or the Futility of Thought)


The sea is calm to-night,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the Straits; -- on the French
Toast, the light
Syrup gleams but a moment,
And is gone
Down the hatch; for it is the light of France.
The cliffs of England stand
Made all of cardboard; a hand
Claps by itself. It gives itself a standing ovation.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind
A state of crashing ignorance.



poetowen said...

Read this over breakfast! alas, only a scone.

more soon...


Anonymous said...

Poet Owen,

Though in the largesse of our provision we may be a trifle deficient--short on jam, say--it is lovely to have you as a guest and should you be willing, for the nonce, to settle for a bit of light syrup over your scones, there may yet come joy to the hostelry.

Anonymous said...

Having just completed Tom Clark's "Edward Dorn: A World of Difference" I was simply looking for a way to thank Tom and ask him if he'd consider writing a sequel, to cover the intervening years. Also, apropos of this poem, remembering the passage in Tom's brilliant and wrenching book, in the Epilogue, about Jenny and Ed reading "Dover Beach" at Kidd's wedding a few months before Ed's death. Thanks Tom

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kind comment on the Ed Dorn book. As to the sequel, were there but time enough and strength...

Yes, very moving about the original poem serving as a "modern epithalamium" in that particular circumstance. Of course on that occasion, obviously, it was the Arnold and not my send-up.