The Sad Sea Waves Ella W Ricker Findlay Jeffersonian 1878 Poem

By the Sad Sea Waves is a poem by Ella W. Ricker, published in The Findlay Jeffersonian newspaper of Ohio on Friday, July 19, 1878.

By the Sad Sea Waves

Ella W. Ricker, 1878

Backward and forward, to and fro, 
The swift-winged swallows come and go; 
	Above the ocean's roar
I hear their cries, as wheeling swift
To where the gathered seaweeds drift, 
	They dart along the shore.

Looking around, on either hand, 
The little cove in which I stand, 
	I see the frowning rocks, 
Distorted, broken, wrenched apart 
As by some sorcerer's magic art, 
	Or by fierce earthquake shocks.

Rising and falling, to my feet 
The waves roll in, then swift retreat; 
	And on their outward way, 
Among the pebbles and the sand, 
They, leave, as if with careless hand, 
	The spoils of many a day.

Drifting and drifting, far and wide, 
Borne on many a restless tide, 
	Storm-tossed and tempest-driven, 
These fragments floated on the seas 
Until,perchance,through favoring breeze,
	At length this port is given.

Shattered, worm:-eaten, matted o'er 

With seaweed, laden with a store 
	Of barnacles and shells, 
This plank, long riven from the deck 
Of some forlorn and broken wreck, 
	A mournful story tells.

Lying beside it on the strand, 
The seaweed, from some far off land 
	Or rocky islet torn, 
Lifts up its leaflets with a grace
That shows the purple of its race
	Right royally is worn.

Trailing its misty robe of gray, 
Inland the sea fog takes its way; 
	As homeward turn my feet, 
I hear the story of the sea, 
Its weird, sad tones of mystery,
	In cadence low and sweet.
The Sad Sea Waves Ella W Ricker Findlay Jeffersonian 1878 Poem
The Sad Sea Waves by Ella W Ricker, found in The Findlay Jeffersonian Newspaper, 1878

I am still working to learn and research more about the life and times of Ella W. Ricker, but so far I learned she lived in South Berwick, Maine.

South Berwick isn’t too far from the ocean, so it’s possible that she would take a lot of inspiration from that in her poems.

I like this poem – and it also makes me wonder: What if she had used a dash, instead of a comma? What if we changed some of the wording and edited it a bit? Would her poems really be that much different from the works of Emily Dickinson?

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