Marina by T. S. Eliot

“Quis hic locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga?”


What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands

What water lapping the bow

And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog

What images return

O my daughter.


Those who sharpen the tooth of the dog, meaning


Those who glitter with the glory of the hummingbird, meaning


Those who sit in the style of contentment, meaning


Those who suffer the ecstasy of the animals, meaning



Are become unsubstantial, reduced by a wind.

A breath of pine, and the woodsong fog

By this grace dissolved in place


What is this face, less clear and clearer

The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger –

Given or lent? more distant than stars and nearer than the eye


Whispers and small laughter between leaves and hurrying feet

Under sleep, where all the waters meet.

Bowsprit cracked with ice and paint cracked with heat.


I made this, I have forgotten

And remember.

The rigging weak and the canvas rotten

Between one June and another September.

Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.

The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking

This form, this face, this life

Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me

Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,

The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.


What seas what shores what granite islands towards my timbers

And woodthrush calling through the fog

My daughter.


by T. S. Eliot

First published September 25, 1930 in Ariel Poems.


Published by


Poetry, theatre, literature, films, reviews and various other matters. Primarily Russian and Welsh subjects.

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