Sweet Are The Dreams on The Breeze-Blown Strand

Sestine Enchainée

When autumn cloudlets fleck the sky
    Straying southward like birds o’er the sea,
      When the flickering sunlight on the dunes
          Is pale, as seagrasses kissed by the spray,
           Seagrasses that knew the summer of yesterday–
             Sweet are the dreams on the breeze-blown strand!

Sweet are the dreams on the breeze-blown strand!
   When cloud skiffs skim athwart the sky
       And like a phantom of yesterday
          The light house shimmers out to sea
             Pale as the sand and the sea-worn spray
               And the straggling sunlight on the dunes.

Like straggling sunlight on the dunes,
  Like opal surges that wash the strand
    With briny fragrance, adoom with the spray,
        Like wander-birds that career the sky
          To flowerlit isles of some Southern sea-
            Such are the dreams of yesterday!

Alas, our dreams of yesterday,
   Frail as the fragrance of the dunes,
     Vain as dark jewels of the sea
        Cast up on some glimmering strand,
          They vanish like cloud sails on the sky,
             Pale as seagrasses frowsed by the spray.  

Pale as seagrasses kissed by the spray,
   Is all this life of yesterday,
    All our longings for clear blue skies
       For the low cool plash on autumn dunes,
          All our musings on tide-left strands
             While birds wing southward o’er the sea.

Like birds winging southward o’er the sea
   Scattered in air-like wasteful spray,
     Sea-fancies fading on lonesome strands
       Weary of storm drifts of yesterday,
           Thus our thoughts on the sea-scooped dunes
              When autumn cloudlets fleck the sky.

Oh, autumn-sea under a cloud-flecked sky
   As caressed are thy dunes with opal spray
      So shimmer in dreams on the breeze-blown strand
         Sweet long-lost summers of yesterday.

From Drifting Flowers of the Sea and Other Poems (1904) by Sadakichi Hartmann. This poem is in the public domain.