The Frozen Ocean

By Viola Meynell in Issue Zero, September 2021

The sea would flow no longer,
It wearied after change,
It called its tides and breakers in,
From where they might range.

It sent an icy message
To every wave and rill;
They lagged, they paused, they stiffened,
They froze, and were still.

It summoned in its currents,
They reached not where they led;
It bound its foaming whirlpools.
"Not the old life," it said,

"Not fishes for the fishermen,
Not bold ships as before,
Not beating loud for ever
Upon the seashore,

"But cold white foxes stepping
On to my hard proud breast,
And a bird coming sweetly
And building a nest.

"My icebergs shall be mountains,
My silent fields of snow
Unmarked shall join the lands' snowfields--
Where, no man shall know."


This poem was first published in Come Hither: A Collection of Rhymes and Poems for the Young of all Ages in 1920. It is currently in the public domain.

Viola Meynell

Viola Meynell (15 October 1885 – 27 October 1956) was a successful novelist and poet of the early 20th century, best known today as an early champion of writers like Herman Melville and D. H. Lawrence. She was also vital to the operation of Nonesuch Press, a private press started in the basement of a Soho bookshop.

Poetry by Viola Meynell
  • The Frozen Ocean