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Submarine Mountains

Cale Young Rice

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 tierce 
And left them to be seen but by the eyes 
Of awed imagination inward bent. 

Their vegetation is the viscid ooze, 
   Whose mysteries are past belief or thought. 
   Creation seems around them devil-wrought, 
   Or by some cosmic urgence gone distraught. 
Adown their precipices chill and dense 
   With the dank midnight creep or crawl or climb 
   Such tentacled and eyeless things of slime, 
Such monster shapes as tempt us to accuse 
Life of a miscreative impotence. 

About their peaks the shark, their eagle, floats, 
   In the thick azure far beneath the air, 
   Or downward sweeps upon what prey may dare 
   Set forth from any silent weedy lair. 
But one desire on all their slopes is found, 
   Desire of food, the awful hunger strife, 
   Yet here, it may be, was begun our life, 
Here all the dreams on which our vision dotes 
In unevolved obscurity were bound. 

Too strange it is, too terrible! And yet 
   It matters not how we were wrought or whence 
   Life came to us with all its throb intense, 
   If in it is a Godly Immanence. 
It matters not,—if haply we are more 
   Than creatures half-conceived by a blind force 
   That sweeps the universe in a chance course: 
For only in Unmeaning Might is met 
The intolerable thought none can ignore.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Cale Young Rice

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