Rupert Brooke

(1887-1915 / Warwickshire / England)

A Channel Passage


The damned ship lurched and slithered. Quiet and quick
My cold gorge rose; the long sea rolled; I knew
I must think hard of something, or be sick;
And could think hard of only one thing -- YOU!
You, you alone could hold my fancy ever!
And with you memories come, sharp pain, and dole.
Now there's a choice -- heartache or tortured liver!
A sea-sick body, or a you-sick soul!

Do I forget you? Retchings twist and tie me,
Old meat, good meals, brown gobbets, up I throw.
Do I remember? Acrid return and slimy,
The sobs and slobber of a last years woe.
And still the sick ship rolls. 'Tis hard, I tell ye,
To choose 'twixt love and nausea, heart and belly.

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2001

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Comments about this poem (A Channel Passage by Rupert Brooke )

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  • Stephen W (5/6/2014 8:53:00 PM)

    Rings true. So much of his work is vain or sentimental, but this one is the real deal, I feel. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (6/26/2009 12:18:00 PM)

    So good at expressing the feelings, this sonnet could almost make the reader nauseated, as well. We lost at least two great poets (that I know of) in WW1, Wilfred Owen and this one. Along with all the other lives lost, such an incalculable waste... (Report) Reply

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