The Aegean is a godlike sea;
Poseidon chose it well to grace his crown.
His temple stands in gleaming white upon a hill
above a sapphire floor that shines in sun.
It once was painted brightly in prayer and hue;
it is now museum-marble, ancient trace
of what was once a salted fountain clear
of sailors' hopes and merchant's profit-race.
This world no temple knows; it has no fear
of gods, and never prays, for it is bland
with stone unpainted by the festive priest;
yet still it stands in awe, and stays demand
before the aging temple-stones that still survive.
It does not understand, but it yet is moved,
for ancient root and sun and splendid sea
still a high sublimity have proved,
and still touch hearts with something like a hymn,
so still we stand upon that hill in awe.
The Aegean is indeed a godlike sea.
We may resolve never to do
a deed we nevertheless will;
a man may be angry at maiden or country
and yet may love them still.
A man may run from God in Heaven
in searching for the God from whom he flees;
we may speak in voice of resounding command
what in truth is only a plea.
We may seek the glasses now perched on our heads
and find what we never did seek;
a man may throw down the fiercest of foes
by turning the other cheek.
A man who seems invincibly strong
might slit his very own throat;
and we may well lose the battle and war
in the midst of our victory-gloat.
A dream sometimes guides more surely to truth
than ever experience will,
and they who decline to indulge their desires
may find desires fulfilled.
To sacrifice everything you have ever held dear
may give you a dearer reward.
To seek a reward may lose you the prize;
to gain it may leave your mind bored.
A man may wander in wild ways
and always be civilized there,
or walk in a city and learn the hard way
of its savageries to note and beware.
The thing on its surface may not be the thing,
and the person may not be the face,
and sometimes you choose that you may avoid
and sometimes stand still for the chase.
Never in life become such a fool
that you only the surface regard;
sometimes the lowest suit in the deck
will trump as the wildest card.