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.