"What says the sea, little shell?"

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"What says the sea, little shell?"  (1905) 
by Stephen Crane
From War is Kind & Other Lines, 1905.


"What says the sea, little shell?
What says the sea?
Long has our brother been silent to us,
Kept his message for the ships,
Awkward ships, stupid ships."

"The sea bids you mourn, O Pines,
Sing low in the moonlight.
He sends tale of the land of doom,
Of place where endless falls
A rain of women's tears,
And men in grey robes —
Men in grey robes —
Chant the unknown pain."

"What says the sea, little shell?
What says the sea?
Long has our brother been silent to us,
Kept his message for the ships,
Puny ships, silly ships."

"The sea bids you teach, O Pines,
Sing low in the moonlight;
Teach the gold of patience,
Cry gospel of gentle hands,
Cry a brotherhood of hearts.
The sea bids you teach, O Pines."

"And where is the reward, little shell?
What says the sea?
Long has our brother been silent to us,
Kept his message for the ships,
Puny ships, silly ships."

"No word says the sea, O Pines,
No word says the sea.
Long will your brother be silent to you,
Keep his message for the ships,
O puny pines, silly pines."

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.