Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

Old Ocean and the Shore

Lovers in Three Moods
Smiling, big and full of joy,
I saw Old Ocean rush upon the Shore:
With wide-spread arms
He caught her to his heart.
I heard him chuckle softly to himself;
I saw his fingers stroke her sea-weed hair;
He kissed and kissed and kissed again
Her lush, responsive lips!
   And she who had been pale and cold
   Grew warm and dimpled at his touch.
I saw Old Ocean sullen, moody, mad;
The Shore stretched out her shell-like hands in vain;
No bubbling laughter greeted her sad ear;
He offered no caress.
He glowered at her, grumbling through his teeth!
Oh, he was dark and sinister!
He would not look upon her, waiting, wan!
   God! I could better bear his blows
   Than this indifference!
I heard Old Ocean warring in his wrath!
He shook and slashed and swore with fury!
With heavy fists he beat upon the Shore;
He tore her hair;
He screamed and raged;
He bruised her tender, shining flesh;
He gripped her with the strength of many giants,--
Until at length, his jealous fury spent,
He sank exhausted in her waiting arms!
   " ‘Tis well," the Shore said softly,
   "For he loveth much."

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