The sea is a recurring theme in Spanish and Latin American poetry, and these poems about the sea attest to it. We have focused on the work of four Spanish poets who give paramount importance to the sea in their work, such as Rafael Alberti, Miguel de Unamuno, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Pedro Salinas .
It is at the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century that the sea occupies the position it deserves in poetry. If we analyze the previous literature, we realize that the sea only appears sporadically during romanticism, and almost always to frame the poem within a larger theme. INDEX
1. Poems about the sea by Miguel de Unamuno
2. Poems about the sea by Rafael Alberti
3. Poems about the sea by Pedro Salinas
4. Poems about the sea by Juan Ramon Jimenez Poems about the sea by Miguel de Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno was the first to use the sea as another vehicle to express the beauty of poetry. Unamuno frequently links the sea to historical events, which are the waves that crash violently on the surface. Other times, it is about the space between heaven and earth, the place where the poet can find God .
Here are some poems by Unamuno dedicated to the sea. 1. The sea of oaks
In this sea of Castilian oaks
the centuries slipped calmly
away from the storms of history,
away from the dream
that life shook other lands;
Over this sea of oaks the sky spreads
its rest-generating peace,
its peace without boredom.
On this sea that keeps in its entrails
all tradition, the manadero
waits for a voice of deep incantation
for long silences.
When the plain flays dry
when the rigorous winter peels it, the skin
of oaks gives
its old green to the blue.
Like the days, its sturdy leaves
roll one after another to the rotting heap,
and the sea is always green, it
is a mirror of the divine.
[…] 2. Beauty Sleeping
Stones of gold,
Heaven of silver!
From the water comes the dense greenery;
of the vegetable
Like giant spikes, the towers
That in the sky chisel
their gold In silver.
There are four strips:
The one with the river, above it the alameda.
The citizen tower
And the sky in which it rests.
And all resting on water,
Water of centuries,
Mirror of beauty.
[…] 3. Sonnet XXXIV (From Fuerteventura to Paris)
The sea filmed the night in her lap
and the night the sea; the moon, absent;
they kiss on the eyes and on the forehead;
kisses leave a mysterious trace.
Melt later in a hug,
the stars shiver with burning
passion of mere love and the soul feels
that night and sea entangle her in their bond. 4. Sonnet XL (From Fuerteventura to Paris)
Which one of you, waves of consolation
that come rolling from the
heavenly line and furrowing
the slight ground with the sparkling spade to the sea;
Which one of you who enlivens my yearning
comes from the fierce Bay of Biscay
? Which of you rehearses
songs with your tongue that were my first sleepless night ? Poems about the sea by Rafael Alberti
Rafael Alberti was born in the Port of Santa Maria de Cadiz in 1902. , the sea is always present in his thought and work. For him, the sea brings back memories of childhood and adolescence, stages prior to his career as a poet. Through nostalgia and religiosity, Alberti evokes the ocean from the vision of the exile who misses his homeland.
Some of Alberti’s poems that refer to the sea are the following. 1. Dream of the sailor
I, sailor, on my shore,
perched on a river and sweet river
that gives its arm to a sea of Andalusia, I
dream of being admiral of a ship,
to split the back of the seas,
to the burning sun now the cold moon
and the water moon for godparents!
The sea, the land, the air, my mermaid, I
will sail tied to the fine
green hair of your algid mane.
My white pennants fly,
Oh sailor! Before the full dawn
And roll your conch across the sea! 2. Salinero
….And the estuaries will already be
oozing blue from the sea.
Let me be, salt workers, granite from the salt flats!
How good, at dawn, to
run in the carts
full of salty snow,
towards the white huts!
I stop being a sailor,
mother, for being a salt worker! 3. Elegy of the Sailor Boy
To Manuel Ruiz Castillo
Slim little sailor,
Luis Gonzaga of the sea,
how fresh your fish was,
You left, little sailor,
on a moonlit night,
so happy, so beautiful,
singing, to the salty sea!
How humble was the sea!
How he ruled it!
So sweet was her singing
that the air was alienated.
Oh my sailor boy,
so dark-haired and gallant,
so handsome and so painterly,
purer and better than bread!
What will you do, gold fisherman,
in the salty valleys
of the sea ? Did you find
treasure of the
? Poems about the sea by Pedro Salinas
As for Pedro Salinas, he takes up the mystical concept. While Unamuno conceives water as the vehicle to reach God, for Salinas the sea is a tool to express the beauty of poetry. In this way El Contemplado is a work dedicated almost exclusively to the sea, with no other objective than the contemplation of its beauty. 1. Variation I – Blues
in school: Aegean, Atlantic,
Indian, Caribbean, Marmara,
Sunda Sea, White Sea.
You are all one in my eyes:
the blue of the Contemplated.
In the atlases,
a blue fakes you, false.
But I am not fooled by
I looked for the blue truth;
An angel, light blue,
took me by the hand.
Every time I went looking for you,
I found you there, in your glory,
which has never failed me.
Your blue for blue is explained:
color blue, paradise;
and look at you, look at him. 2. Variation IV – For joy
How many, how many has the sea,
how many joys!
Beings of light, on the water,
dance, on tiptoe.
How well the waves end:
In the blue stagecraft
parties are outlined.
Neither waves nor reflections are
all that shines.
Not even foams are the ones that play,
Joys that I lack,
he makes them for me.
From their deepest distances
from him to me they are directed.
And here in his eyes, his
become mine. Poems about the sea by Juan Ramon Jimenez
Finally, we analyze the link between the sea and the poetic work of Juan Ramon Jimenez. For him, the sea is a symbol of his different stages as a poet , pointing out two key points: his wedding trip to the United States and his trip to Buenos Aires. 1. Love in the sea
It seems, sea, that you struggle
—oh endless disorder, incessant iron!—
to find you or because I find you.
How immense to show you,
in your nakedness alone
—without a partner… or without a partner,
according to what the sea or the sea tells you—, creating
the complete spectacle
of our world today!
You are, as
in childbirth, giving
birth —with what fatigue!—
yourself, unique sea
! find you! 2. Towards the sea
How close to the soul
is what is still so immensely far
from the hands!
Like a starlight,
like a nameless voice
brought by sleep, like the passage
of some distant steed
that we longingly hear,
the ear on earth;
Like the sea on the phone…
And life is made
inside, with the inextinguishable light
of a delightful day
that shines elsewhere.
Oh, how sweet, how sweet
truth without reality yet, how sweet!
- Read our 15 essential short poems.
- Discover the 16 types of poems with some examples.
Pelosi, HC (2015). Rafael Alberti: The drift of a sailor on Argentine soil, (1940-1963). Studies of Spanish history, 17(1)
Correa, G. (1966). The symbolism of the sea in Spanish poetry of the 20th century. Modern Hispanic Magazine, 32(1/2), 62-86.