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A Channel Passage
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

The damned ship lurched and slithered. Quiet and quick
   My cold gorge rose; the long sea rolled; I knew
I must think hard of something, or be sick;
   And could think hard of only one thing---you!
You, you alone could hold my fancy ever!
   And with you memories come, sharp pain, and dole.
Now there's a choice---heartache or tortured liver!
   A sea-sick body, or a you-sick soul!

Do I forget you? Retchings twist and tie me,
   Old meat, good meals, brown gobbets, up I throw.
Do I remember? Acrid return and slimy,
   The sobs and slobber of a last years woe.
And still the sick ship rolls. 'Tis hard, I tell ye,
To choose 'twixt love and nausea, heart and belly.

 

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