Monday, April 21, 2008

National Poetry Month: "I see it as it looked one afternoon ..."

It's National Poetry Month but I know of only one poem about Long Island Sound, by Emma Lazarus. When I was looking for a title for my book, I searched through Whitman's poems hoping that, because he lived in Huntington and wrote about "fish-shaped Paumonok" (aka Long Island), he might have mentioned the Sound once or twice, but if he did, I couldn't find it. Stan Getz wrote and recorded a song called "Long Island Sound," but it's an instrumental. Here's Emma, who of course also wrote this:

Long Island Sound

I see it as it looked one afternoon
In August,-by a fresh soft breeze o'erblown.
The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.


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