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(1887-1915 / Warwickshire / England)

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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


Read poems about / on: sick, sea, remember, rose, pain, alone, heart, memory

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Comments about this poem (Busy Heart, The by Rupert Brooke )

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  • 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...

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