The Song of the Surf
By Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870)
Publication Start Year: 1867
From Sea Spray and Smoke Drift (1867)
White steeds of ocean, that leap with a hollow and
On the bar of ironstone steep, not a fathom’s length
from the shore,
Is there never a seer nor sophist can interpret your
When speech the harshest and roughest is seldom
studied in vain?
My ears are constantly smitten by that dreary
In a hieroglyphic ’tis written — ’tis spoken in a
Gathering, growing, and swelling, and surging, and
What is the tale you are telling? what is the drift of
You come, and your crests are hoary with the foam
of your countless years;
You break, with a rainbow of glory, through the
spray of your glittering tears.
Is your song a song of gladness? a paean of joyous
Or a wail of discordant sadness for the wrongs you
never can right?
For the empty seat by the ingle? for children reft of
For the bride, sitting sad, and single, and pale, by the
For your ravenous pools of suction? for your
shattering billow swell?
For your ceaseless work of destruction? for your
Not far from this very place, on the sand and the
He lay, with his batter’d face upturned to the
When your waters wash’d and swill’d high over his
When his nostrils and lungs were filled, when his
feet and hands were as lead,
When against the rock he was hurl’d, and suck’d
again to the sea,
On the shores of another world, on the brink of
On the verge of annihilation, did it come to that
The sudden interpretation of your mystical weird-
‘Mortal! that which thou askest, ask not thou of the
Fool! thou foolishly taskest us–we are only slaves;
Might, more mighty, impels us–we must our lot
He who gathers and swells us curbs us, too, at His
Think’st thou the wave that shatters questioneth His
Little to us matters, and naught it matters to thee.
Not thus, murmuring idly, we from our duty would
Over the world spread widely ever we labour and
Original Text: Poems, ed. Robert A.
Thompson (London and Melbourne: A. H.
Massina, 1920). Sydney Electronic Text and
‘Surf Before Sunrise,’ The Mel-Tones (1998)
The Crashing Waves
The surfers are waiting eagerly like a bird watching its prey.
Suddenly an enormous tunnelling wave grabs them like a giant’s fist.
The excited surfers start to bob in the waves
Starting to stand up above the world.
The crashing waves slaughter the surfers.
The shimmering, ice blue waves settle as the gleaming
burning sun goes down.
The surfers carry on surfing in the warm sea by the moon light.
Not worried about the time. Not worried about anything.
People leave but the surfers carry on.
Posted by year5ringmer on July 8, 2008
‘Miserlou,’ the surf classic performed by Dick Dale and The Del-Tones in the 1963 film A Swinging’ Affair
The ice cold waves
wash me into the distance,
like a bird gliding,
further and further,
until nothing can be seen,
but a crashing sea,
glimmering like a crystal
in the scorching sun.
The ‘superstition and dread’ of Waimea Bay, circa 1957, from the film Riding Giants, a 2004 documentary directed and narrated by skater/surfer Stacy Peralta and focusing on the evolution of surfing at Hawaii’s Waimea Bay. Surfers featured include big wave riding legend Greg Noll.
Surf n’ Summer
By KP Nunez
Into the wake of waves he rides.
The surfer glides like bird in flight.
He slips, gets up, head on collides, into the wake of waves he rides.
His graceful dance with winds and tides
shows love for ocean at first sight.
Into the wake of waves he rides;
the surfer glides like bird in flight.
From Surf Love Poems or Love Poems
About Surf @ lovepoemsandpoets.com
‘Gotta take that one last ride…’ Jan and Dean, ‘Ride the Wild Surf,’ title song from the 1964 film directed by Don Taylor and featuring some outstanding big wave surf footage along with a script that attempted to portray surfers and surf culture seriously. The big waves at Waimea Bay were as much the star of the film as any of the actors (Fabian, Tab Hunter, Peter Brown, Shelley Fabares, Susan Hart).