Why I Love Thee?

                 Why I love thee?;
     Ask why the seawind wanders,;
Why the shore is aflush with the tide,;
Why the moon through heaven meanders;
Like seafaring ships that ride;
On a sullen, motionless deep;;
      Why the seabirds are fluttering the strand;
       Where the waves sing themselves to sleep;
         And starshine lives in the curves of the sand!;

More by Sadakichi Hartmann

Tanka

I. 

Winter? Spring? Who knows? 
White buds from the plumtrees wing 
And mingle with the snows. 
No blue skies these flowers bring, 
Yet their fragrance augurs Spring. 

II. 

Oh, were the white waves, 
Far on the glimmering sea 
That the moonshine laves, 
Dream flowers drifting to me,—
I would cull them, love, for thee. 

III. 

Moon, somnolent, white, 
Mirrored in a waveless sea, 
What fickle mood of night 
Urged thee from heaven to flee 
And live in the dawnlit sea? 

IV. 

Like mist on the leas, 
Fall gently, oh rain of Spring 
On the orange trees 
That to Ume's casement cling—
Perchance, she'll hear the love-bird sing. 

V. 

Though love has grown cold 
The woods are bright with flowers, 
Why not as of old 
Go to the wildwood bowers 
And dream of--bygone hours! 

VI. 

Tell, what name beseems 
These vain and wandering days! 
Like the bark of dreams 
That from souls at daybreak strays 
They are lost on trackless ways.

Drifting Flowers of the Sea

Across the dunes, in the waning light,
The rising moon pours her amber rays,
Through the slumbrous air of the dim, brown night
The pungent smell of the seaweed strays—
     From vast and trackless spaces
       Where wind and water meet,
         White flowers, that rise from the sleepless deep,
             Come drifting to my feet.
     They flutter the shore in a drowsy tune,
       Unfurl their bloom to the lightlorn sky,
         Allow a caress to the rising moon,
             Then fall to slumber, and fade, and die.

White flowers, a-bloom on the vagrant deep,
Like dreams of love, rising out of sleep,
You are the songs, I dreamt but never sung,
Pale hopes my thoughts alone have known,
Vain words ne’er uttered, though on the tongue,
That winds to the sibilant seas have blown.
      In you, I see the everlasting drift of years
        That will endure all sorrows, smiles and tears;
          For when the bell of time will ring the doom
            To all the follies of the human race,
               You still will rise in fugitive bloom
                  And garland the shores of ruined space.

Related Poems

Wild Nights—Wild Nights! (249)

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

How Like the Sea

How like the sea, the myriad-minded sea,
Is this large love of ours: so vast, so deep,
So full of myseries! it, too, can keep
Its secrets, like the ocean; and is free,
Free, as the boundless main. Now it may be
Calm like the brow of some sweet child asleep;
Again its seething billows surge and leap
And break in fulness of their ecstasy.

Each wave so like the wave which came before,
Yet never two the same! Imperative
And then persuasive as the cooing dove,
Encroaching ever on the yielding shore—
Ready to take; yet readier still to give—
How like the myriad-minded sea, is love.

Bei Hennef

The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
            This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
            Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft “Sh!” of the river
            That will last forever.

And at last I know my love for you is here,
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
             Troubles, anxieties, and pains.

             You are the call and I am the answer,
             You are the wish, and I the fulfillment,
             You are the night, and I the day.
                         What else—it is perfect enough,
                         It is perfectly complete,
                         You and I.
Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!