At Étretat

by Louise Chandler Moulton (1835 -1908)

 

The ocean beats against the stern, dumb shore
The stormy passion of its mighty heart,—
The sky, where no stars shine, is black above,
And thou and I sit from the world apart.

We two, with lives no star of hope makes bright,—
Whom bliss forgets, and joy no longer mocks,—
Hark to the wind’s wild cry, the sea’s complaint,
And break with wind and sea against the rocks.

Sore-wounded, hurled on the dark shore of Fate,
We stretch out helpless hands, and cry in vain,—
Our joy went forth, white-sailed, at dawn of day;
To-night is pitiless for all our pain.

We are not glad of any morn to come,
Since that winged joy we never more shall see,—
But in the passion of the winds and waves
Something there seems akin to thee and me.

They call! Shall we not go, out on that tide,
To touch, perchance, some shore where tempests cease,
Where no wind blows, and storm-torn souls forget
Their past disasters in that utmost peace?

 

A photo essay from Étretat in north-western France, taken in August 2016.

Petra Zehner

Petra Zehner is a German-born graphic designer and photographer. She currently lives in France. Find more of her work at petrazehner.com and on social media @petra_zehner.