Wednesday, July 17, 2013


- Edna St. Vincent Millay

People that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,
Far from the sea-board, far from the sound

Of water sucking the hollow ledges,
Tons of water striking the shore,—
What do they long for, as I long for
One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
Spanking the boats at the harbour's head,
What do they long for, as I long for,—
Starting up in my inland bed,

Beating the narrow walls, and finding
Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning,—
One salt taste of the sea once more?


  1. I subscribe to a poetry site that sends poems to my inbox every day. This poem came up recently, and because of it, I ended up buying her collected poems. I used to live by the sea, once upon a time, and I miss the smell of it, and the sound of the waves, and the look of the light upon the water so much. This poem reminds of my own longing that I keep tucked away, stuck inland as I am. Thank you for posting it here too :-)

    1. You are welcome. I'm a real land lubber, myself, though I love the sea in theory.