Wet Beaches

By George Sterling

Wind's forth and ocean calls,
But we must meet between four walls.

I wish it need not be-
That I, a faun o' the foam,
And you, whose dryad home,
Were in an ancient tree,
Instead might first clasp sunburnt hands and race,
Nothing to grieve for, nothing to teach,
Down half a mile of ocean's lonest beach;
That you might run with me,
Nothing to ask for, nothing to learn-
Only the tireless pace,
Only the sure, taut, swift
Feet that flash and spurn,
And your wild hair adrift
Across the mallow face
And hard loins' grace.
To run along the foam-line, hand in hand,
And see our snows' reflection in the sand,
As the sun made us marble, and the wind
Veined it in blue!
Not then to hear
The laugh when two have sinned-
Only the white sea-bird,
Across white waters heard-
Only the deep, long, true
Breath, and our eyes' clean, clear
Gaze on the northern dune.
A running done so soon-
Would that be sweet to you?

Shut eyes! Feel the cold wind flow past!
Run, but however fast
The flight may be
By this imagined sea-
However swift the race,
Something outran us: feet that left no trace
Went by to beaches that we shall not know,
And that sea's snow
(Ah! faster, dear!)
Melts never to a tear.
Star-topped the goal-posts glow,
And those immortal feet
That wing our dream
(How swift they flow!)
Shall pass the world's extreme,
Forever victors and forever fleet.
Even the dipping swallow
May never follow,
Nor salt air
That happy traveling share.
We run in Time, who have so far to go,
See, the sands end;
The cliffs are tall before us, shining friend.
Delay! Look back!
The waves have left us not a track
Of all we made.
So then, you to your glade,
I to my home,
Beyond the eternal, unabiding foam.
A quick farewell-goodbye,
O beautiful and shy,
Whose calm lips have not stirred
Even to one grave word!

The surf calls,
But we have met between four walls. 

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