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About this Poem 

“Passage” was published in Rice’s book Sea Poems (The Century Co., 1921).


A dark sail,
Like a wild-goose wing,
Where the sunset was.
The moon soon will silver its sinewy flight
Thro the night watches,
And the far flight
Of those immortal migrants,
The ever-returning stars.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Cale Young Rice

Cale Young Rice was born on December 7, 1872, in Dixon, Kentucky. He published many books, including Plays and Lyrics (1906), Yolanda of Cyprus (1908), and At the World’s Heart (1914). Rice died in 1943.

by this poet

A gleaming glassy ocean 
  Under a sky of grey; 
A tide that dreams of motion, 
  Or moves, as the dead may; 
A bird that dips and wavers 
  Over lone waters round, 
Then with a cry that quavers 
  Is gone—a spectral sound.

The brown sad sea-weed drifting 
  Far from the land, and lost; 
The faint warm fog
See your God in the jelly-fish, 
Sucking salty food. 
See Him drift in the gulf-weed, 
In shark-bellies brood. 
See Him feed with the gull there, 
In a grey ship's wake. 
Feel Him afresh 
In your own hot flesh 
When into lust you break. 

Hear His wrath in the hurricane, 
Hushing a hundred lives. 
Hist His heave
Under the sea, which is their sky, they rise
   To watery altitudes as vast as those 
   Of far Himalayan peaks impent in snows 
   And veils of cloud and sacred deep repose. 
Under the sea, their flowing firmament, 
   More dark than any ray of sun can pierce, 
   The earthquake thrust them up with mighty