New York Nocturnes and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


The Atlantic Cable


This giant nerve, at whose command
   The world’s great pulses throb or sleep,—
It threads the undiscerned repose
   Of the dark bases of the deep.

Around it settle in the calm

   Fine tissues that a breath might mar,
Nor dream what fiery tidings pass,
   What messages of storm and war.

Far over it, where filtered gleams
   Faintly illume the mid-sea day,

Strange, pallid forms of fish or weed
   In the obscure tide softly sway.

And higher, where the vagrant waves
   Frequent the white, indifferent sun,
Where ride the smoke-blue hordes of rain

   And the long vapors lift and run,

Passes perhaps some lonely ship
   With exile hearts that homeward ache,—
While far beneath is flashed a word
   That soon shall bid them bleed or break.