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by Carl Sandburg, 1920

The sea at its worst drives a white foam up,
 The same sea sometimes so easy and rocking with green mirrors.
 So you were there when the white foam was up
 And the salt spatter and the rack and the dulse—
 You were done fingering these, and high, higher and higher
 Your feet went and it was your voice went, “Hai, hai, hai,”
 Up where the rocks let nothing live and the grass was gone,
 Not even a hank nor a wisp of sea moss hoping.
 Here your feet and your same singing, “Hai, hai, hai.”

 Was there anything else to answer than, “Hai, hai, hai,”?
 Did I go up those same crags yesterday and the day before
 Scruffing my shoe leather and scraping the tough gnomic stuff
 Of stones woven on a cold criss-cross so long ago?
 Have I not sat there... watching the white foam up,
 The hoarse white lines coming to curve, foam, slip back?
 Didn’t I learn then how the call comes, “Hai, hai, hai”?

Published in Smoke and Steel

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.