Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Secret of the Sea


Hi all,

I just got back from a splendid vacation to the beach, during which I did lots of swimming, biking, beachcombing, and indulging in my guilty pleasure, reading, something I don’t have time to do much during the school year. (I read a terrific book called Gift from the Sea, written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I highly recommend it.) It was a very restful vacation, and it did much to refresh my soul, as being near the ocean always does for me. I can’t explain it, but there is something about filling your lungs with moist, salty sea air that has the power both to immediately relax and to invigorate. One morning, early, before the sun had even begun to rise, while the world was silent and still, I slipped out of bed and out of the house with my camera. I walked along the all-too-familiar sandy path to the beach, and there I experienced God’s glory in the brilliant sunrise I witnessed. I took a few photos, and I thought I would share those with you, in addition to one of my favorite poems ever, The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I’m not certain why I love this poem so much, but there is something about it that sends chills down my spine every time I read it. I can practically feel the salty spray on my face and the wind in my hair when I read its haunting, musical verse. I have always felt drawn to the sea, and this poem captures the beauty and mystery of the ocean and the thrill of the unknown.

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me 

As I gaze upon the sea!

All the old romantic legends,

All my dreams, come back to me.


Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,

Such as gleam in ancient lore;

And the singing of the sailors,

And the answer from the shore!


Most of all, the Spanish ballad

Haunts me oft, and tarries long,

Of the noble Count Arnaldos

And the sailor’s mystic song.


Like the long waves on a sea-beach,

Where the sand as silver shines,

With a soft, monotonous cadence,

Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;


Telling how the Count Arnaldos,

With his hawk upon his hand,

Saw a fair and stately galley,

Steering onward to the land;


How he heard the ancient helmsman

Chant a song so wild and clear,

That the sailing sea-bird slowly

Poised upon the mast to hear,


Till his soul was full of longing,

And he cried, with impulse strong,

“Helmsman! for the love of heaven,

Teach me, too, that wondrous song!”


“Wouldst thou,” so the helmsman answered,

“Learn the secret of the sea?

Only those who brave its dangers

Comprehend its mystery!”


In each sail that skims the horizon,

In each landward-blowing breeze,

I behold that stately galley,

Hear those mournful melodies;


Till my soul is full of longing

For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean

Sends a thrilling pulse through me.


I hope you enjoyed! Isn’t it such a wonderful poem? What are your favorite poems?