Poetry Moment: “The Shell” by Fannie Sherrick

Oh, take this shell, this pretty thing 
With tinted waves of pearly red; 
Hold close your ear and hear it sing, 
Then tell me what its voice hath said. 
A song of surges deep and strong, 
A song of summer sweet and long, 
A sound of storm and wind and rain, 
A sound of joy–a glad refrain. 
O plaything of the idle sea, 
Whence come these changing tints of thine? 
Have sunset clouds looked down on thee 
And stained thee with their hues divine? 
Oh, tell the secrets thou must know 
Of clouds above and waves below; 
Oh, whisper of the bending sky 
And ocean caves where jewels lie.
O beauteous sea-shell, tinged with red, 
What dost thou know; what canst thou tell? 

Fannie Isabel Sherrick (circa mid-to-late 19th c.) was a native of St. Louis. Much of her early life was spent in California and Colorado, where many of her best productions in verse were written. Her collected poems were published in 1888, in a volume entitled Star Dust. Poor health caused her–at least temporarily–to give up literary endeavors. The poem posted in this blog is an abstract of Sherrick’s full poem.

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