The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
in the white tip and tremor of the face.
As the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!
No one alone: from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave
Wading far out among the rocks and sands
The night o’er taken mariner to save.
And the great ships sail outward and return
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells
And ever joyful, as they see it burn
They wave their silent welcome and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze
And eager faces, as the light unveils
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze
The mariner remembers when a child
on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink
And when returning from adventures wild
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame
Shines on that inextinguishable light!
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.
The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain
And steadily against its solid form
press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock
Still grasping in his hand the fire of love
it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock
but hails the mariner with words of love.
Sail on!” it says: “sail on, ye stately ships!”
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Hat- World Market, Earrings- Made by me!, Blouse- Thrifted, Vintage, Skirt- Thrifted, Cardigan- Ann Taylor Loft, Tights and Booties- Target
In the last days of October we had some rather wonderfully gloomy days. Despite my love of the cold and layering, my wardrobe sorely lacks layer-able items. I guess living in a climate that is nearly always hot (we're in the upper 70's and low 80's this week) has conditioned my shopping to look for pieces that are cool, lightweight, and can stand on their own. I guess that's probably why I own more dresses than separates too. This isn't really a problem until we finally get some coolish weather (the nights have been getting really cold! Like down to the unheard of 30's!) and I just stare at my closet for an hour and sigh. When I'd like to be wrapped in woolen fisherman's sweaters and thick skirts, with sensible in the rain boots and thick stockings, I have to settle for a cotton blouse and skirt, old cheap patterned tights, and highly impractical booties.
Funnily, even though I sloshed this together last minute, and left my house feeling pretty annoyed with my wardrobe, I actually really ended up liking this outfit quite a bit. One of the things I decided to take cue from this autumn and winter was Late Victorian and Edwardian Maritime clothing. I mentioned before how much all things naval/nautical/aquatic fascinates me (even though the idea of going diving gives me a panic attack!), and to be honest, I'm always looking for ways to bring a little of that into my wardrobe. But for some reason something about this outfit said "Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter" to me. Which is probably ridiculous, and I'm not sure where I got that idea (probably my incredibly dour appearance, for which I apologize! I really wasn't unhappy!), but that's what I think every time I look at these photos. I get these images in my head of carrying stacks of wood and buckets of coal, surrounded by the bleak sea. Perhaps going to all those Lighthouses in Oregon as a child has finally gone to my head, but I really do like this kind of look. I've found though, that when an outfits has a "story" (even if it happens to be all in my head) I like it better. I guess it gives my clothes "character" :-). Now if only I could find me a proper fisherman's sweater...