Yozgad IV: How like an ocean is existence here

Original Text: 
S de V. Julius, Poems (London: Longmans, 1928): 44-45. British Library 011644.eee.52
Yozgad is situated in a remote and high valley of the Anatolian tableland. From the barren hills which rise around it, the eye descends upon a tumult of rocky ridges and stony uplands, deeply scored by ravines whose scarped and bastioned sides have been wrought by the storms of the autumnal rain and the rushing waters of the melting snow. A scene desolate and sublime, a vast expanse which man and Nature have co-imbued with fearfulness and nameless beauty. In this region man moves, weapon in hand, ready to strike first and once, or lie unburied till the winter sheds its snow. The thoughts of a prisoner in such surroundings, severed from all but his own sensations and those of his companions in captivity, must ebb and flow as the tides, and rise and fall like the alternations of day and night. (p. 42)
1How like an ocean is existence here,
2Whose waves are days and moving follow on;
3Each seventh wave looms larger than the rest,
4As Sabbaths mark the passing of the weeks:
5Each wave's uplift is as the rise of day,
6And lifted high we look around and find
7Nor ship, nor shore, nor bound, but only sky;
8Then to the trough of night the day descends,
9As the wave sweeps from under plunging down,
10And passes onward leaving us still here.
11So the waves pass, while we remain like hulks
12Whose means of self-propulsion are all gone
13That once rejoiced to chase them passing by.
14Thus derelict we lie, time passes on,
15And we shall see nor home, nor friend, nor love,
16'Til, as the tides of ocean cast their dead
17Spewed forth among the jetsam of the shore,
18We too return, -- the flotsam of the war.
19So now heave-to my argosy and bear
20Thee up into the eye of this chill wind,
21And like a skilled experienced mariner
22I'll now ride out the storm of this vile war.
Publication Start Year: 
1928
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001
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