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Poem Title:  Channel Crossing

Poem Category:  Nature Poems

Poet:  Sylvia Plath

Poet Biography: 
Sylvia Plath 1932-1963, was an American poetess who wrote over 400 poems mainly on sensitive topics such as love, respect, family, remembrance.

On storm-struck deck, wind sirens caterwaul; with each tilt, shock and shudder, our blunt ship Cleaves forward into fury; dark as anger, Waves wallop, assaulting the stubborn hull. Flayed by spray, we take the challenge up, Grip the rail, squint ahead, and wonder how much longer Such force can last; but beyond, the neutral view Shows, rank on rank, the hungry seas advancing. Below, rocked havoc-sick, voyagers lie Retching in bright orange basins; a refugee Sprawls, hunched in black, among baggage, wincing Under the strict mask of his agony. Far from the sweet stench of that perilous air In which our comrades are betrayed, we freeze And marvel at the smashing nonchalance of nature: what better way to test taut fiber Than against this onslaught, these casual blasts of ice That wrestle with us like angels; the mere chance of making harbor through this racketing flux Taunts us to valor. Blue sailors sang that our journey Would be full of sun, white gulls, and water drenched With radiance, peacock-colored; instead, bleak rocks Jutted early to mark our going, while sky curded over with clouds and chalk cliffs blanched In sullen light of the inauspicious day. Now, free, by hazard's quirk, from the common ill Knocking our brothers down, we strike a stance Most mock-heroic, to cloak our waking awe At this rare rumpus which no man can control: Meek and proud both fall; stark violence Lays all walls waste; private estates are torn, Ransacked in the public eye. We forsake Our lone luck now, compelled by bond, by blood, To keep some unsaid pact; perhaps concern Is helpless here, quite extra, yet we must make The gesture, bend and hold the prone man's head. And so we sail toward cities, streets and homes Of other men, where statues celebrate brave acts played out in peace, in war; all dangers End: green shores appear; we assume our names, Our luggage, as docks halt our brief epic; no debt Survives arrival; we walk the plank with strangers.

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