The sun beats down upon this bench;
The boards resound with thumping feet;
The passing breeze picks up the stench
Of tobacco and roasting meat.
To left and right a world spreads out
Of blaring music, flashing signs;
The cream-streaked people peer about
Through glasses dark for cheapest finds.
An eastern wind comes from behind,
A crisp and cool breath from the sea;
Its sharp, clean fragrance wafts to mind
A world of grace and mystery,
A quiet world, breakers and breeze
Singing their wild, blissful hymn,
Earth’s edge fading in glimm’ring seas,
Free blue-green depths where finned things swim.
My heart leaps up to hasten there,
Leaving behind this boardwalk scene,
For all its splendid flash and glare
Pales by this majesty serene.
I’ve brought no purse nor souvenir,
Nothing that I need fear to leave.
My shoes I gladly set down here,
Forsake the scene, and never grieve.
For though its sweet delights I reap,
My hungry heart finds them too small;
The sea’s glory is strong and deep,
And fades not nor changes at all.
So may I gladly quit this earth,
Not weighted by things on the way,
And freely seek my second birth,
The joys deeper than man can say.
Though pleasures here be bright and sweet,
Still my heart strains up from the sod;
Into the depths shall fly my feet,
The changeless, beauteous depths of God!