BEYOND DOVER BEACH: A POEM OF OUR TIMES

McCleary's Alternatives

 

[The imagined setting of this poem is obviously England, the setting of Matthew Arnold’s original Dover Beach, but the symbolic range and topical application is wider]

BEYOND DOVER BEACH

The grey whale changes hemisphere to go
Like Jonah’s fish towards the coast of Joppa.[1]
But otherwise and elsewhere pods have beached
And dolphins died in struggle with the nets
While fish by shoals and millions wash ashore
The brine no cover to their stench of death.

These are the signs symbolic of an era’s end.

The last degree, the anaretic, gains in power
Two fish so long opposed now drift apart [2]
They lose their will, they know their time is short
The current sees them fall away, the surge
Rolls higher with each speeding year.
No Trojan horse will now make cities fall
Lies as of the luring Lorelei suffice
The sense of boundary and of barrier is…

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