Cape Cod

By George Santayana 1863–1952 George Santayana
The low sandy beach and the thin scrub pine,
The wide reach of bay and the long sky line,—
      O, I am sick for home!

The salt, salt smell of the thick sea air,
And the smooth round stones that the ebbtides wear,—
      When will the good ship come?

The wretched stumps all charred and burned,
And the deep soft rut where the cartwheel turned,—
      Why is the world so old?

The lapping wave, and the broad gray sky
Where the cawing crows and the slow gulls fly,
      Where are the dead untold?

The thin, slant willows by the flooded bog,
The huge stranded hulk and the floating log,
      Sorrow with life began!

And among the dark pines, and along the flat shore,
O the wind, and the wind, for evermore!
      What will become of man?

Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (The Library of America, 1993)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet George Santayana 1863–1952

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Landscapes & Pastorals, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

 George  Santayana

Biography

George Santayana was a Spanish-born American philosopher who is regarded as one of the most important thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century, and one of the most prominent champions of critical realism. He was also a critic, dramatist, educator, essayist, novelist, and poet. His first published work was a book of poetry titled Sonnets and Other Verses. An opponent of the contemporary philosophical methods, which . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Disappointment & Failure, Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.