Several poets penned down their wandering thoughts regarding the beauty of the sea and beach. The sandy shores sometimes gave inspiration to poets or made them think about nature as a whole. In each case, nature is the ultimate theme. The beach and the sea become part of this. In this list, readers can find different ways to look at beaches and appreciate their beauty.
Best Poems about Beaches
- 1 Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
- 2 Evening on Calais Beach by William Wordsworth
- 3 On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
- 4 Beach Burial by Kenneth Slessor
- 5 I Saw from the Beach by Thomas Moore
- 6 The Beach by Robert Graves
- 7 Show It at the Beach by Shel Silverstein
- 8 On the Beach at Fontana by James Joyce
- 9 To Beachey, 1912 by Carl Sandburg
- 10 My Garden — like the Beach by Emily Dickinson
This poem is one of the best-known poems of Matthew Arnold. It was published in 1867 and appears in the volume New Poems. In this dramatic monologue, Arnold laments the loss of true Christian faith in England during the 19th century as the revolutionary ideas of Darwin captured the minds of the public. The speaker of this piece stands on the Dover coast and describes a calm and quiet sea in the first few lines of the poem.
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; – on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Explore more Matthew Arnold poems.
Evening on Calais Beach by William Wordsworth
This poem is also known as ‘It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free’. This sonnet is written after a walk in Calais, France. Then Wordsworth was with his nine-year-old daughter Caroline. In this poem, Wordsworth describes the calm evening while he was walking on the Calais beach. He reflects on the impression the sea, beach, and nature had on his mind. A few lines from the text will reveal Wordsworth’s love for the landscape.
IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder–everlastingly.
Read more William Wordsworth poems.
As the title says, this poem is about how Walt Whitman visualizes the scenic beauty on a beach at night. The poem has an interesting structure. In the second stanza, the lines begin with the word “All”. It is an example of anaphora. Whitman uses this device to depict how a vast similitude interlocks everything around the beach, with beauty and peace.
A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any
All lives and deaths–all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall
forever span them, and compactly hold them, and enclose them.
Beach Burial by Kenneth Slessor
‘Beach Burial’ is about burial sites along the coast of Egypt. Slessor focuses primarily on the Arab Gulf near Alexandria. The first few lines of this piece shockingly describe how dead bodies float along the shore.
Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.
In the end, he describes how these men are united by common loss of life and their burial in the sand.
Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as enemies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.
Explore more Kenneth Slessor poems.
‘I Saw from the Beach’ is written by the Irish poet Thomas Moore. This metaphorical life is centered on the water of the sea and a boat near the shore. Moore portrays the boat as a metaphor of soul and the sea to human passion. According to him, the boat floats on the water. But when the water recedes it makes the boat look motionless and desolate. It makes him think about how passions grow in our hearts. When these emotions recede, it makes our souls burn out. That’s why the speaker laments,
Oh, who would not welcome that moment’s returning
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
And his soul, like the wood that grows precious in burning,
Gave out all its sweets to love’s exquisite flame.
Read more Thomas Moore poems.
The Beach by Robert Graves
‘The Beach’ is written by Robert Graves, remembered as a classicist, poet, historian, and literary critic. This short poem consists of ten unrhymed lines. It describes how a speaker looks at the sea. While standing on a beach, the speaker depicts a group of children shouting and enjoying themselves there.
Louder than gulls the little children scream
Whom fathers haul into the jovial foam;
But others fearlessly rush in, breast high,
Laughing the salty water from their mouthes-
Heroes of the nursery.
There is an experienced boatman who warns them about the reality of the ocean. It is a metaphorical reference to human life.
Explore more Robert Graves poems.
This poem acts as a satire on the hypocrisy of society. Silverstein talks about nudity implicitly. According to him, people can show their naked bodies in parlors, bars, or in sophisticated magazines. But, when it comes to showing their body on the beach, it seems a shameful task. Through the lines of this poem, the poet asks only one question, “Why is it wrong to show it on the beach?”
Oh they won’t let us show it at the beach no they won’t let us show it at the beach
They think we’re gonna grab it if it gets within our reach
And they won’t let us show it at the beach
But if you’ve got a gun it’s legal to display it on your hip
You can show your butcher knives to any interested kid
But if it’s made for lovin’ then you’d better keep it hid
And they won’t let us show it at the beach
This piece is about two lovers. In this poem, Joyce describes how a speaker loves to embrace her beloved on the beach. However, there is a tone of sadness regarding their separation in the last few lines of the poem:
Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!
Read more James Joyce poems.
To Beachey, 1912 by Carl Sandburg
In this poem, Carl Sandburg personifies a beach as “Beachey”. He portrays it as a human being who is in the love of the big blue beyond, a metaphorical reference to the sea. The second stanza of this piece describes how the sun controls time. Let’s have a look at a few lines from the poem:
RIDING against the east,
A veering, steady shadow
Purrs the motor-call
Of the man-bird
Ready with the death-laughter
And around him the large gray wings.
Hold him, great soft wings,
Keep and deal kindly, O wings,
With the cool, calm shadow at the wheel.
Explore more Carl Sandburg poems.
This Emily Dickinson poem consists of only five lines. Here, Dickinson compares her garden to a beach and compares herself to a pearl in the depths of the ocean:
My Garden—like the Beach—
Denotes there be—a Sea—
Such as These—the Pearls
She fetches—such as Me