Edward Shanks

The Cataclysm

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When a great wave disturbs the ocean cold
And throws the bottom waters to the sky,
Strange apparitions on the surface lie,
Great battered vessels, stripped of gloss and gold,
And, writhing in their pain, sea-monsters old,
Who stain the waters with a bloody dye,
With unaccustomed mouths bellow and cry
And vex the waves with struggling fin and fold.
And with these too come little trivial things
Tossed from the deeps by the same casual hand;
A faint sea flower, dragged from the lowest sand,
That will not undulate its luminous wings
In the slow tides again, lies dead and swings
Along the muddy ripples to the land.

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Edward Shanks