In this long arrival of life, I am reached
Tonight there is no retreat,
The breath of the sea-air touches my face,
sea and stars go still; wind and water, no sound.
From afar, tide and moon in silent tune embrace.
The poem is short, less than 40 lines, and very accessible. And yet it has so many layers and echoes for such a short poem. There's a good chance you read it in high school. It's called "the most anthologized poem in the English language." If you're not familiar with it, it's worth reading. Even if you've read it, it's worth re-discovering. Here it is:
I've been carrying this poem around in my head for a while now. The thing is, as beautiful as it is, and as evocative as it is, I couldn't disagree with it more. So in addition to the words of the poem, I carried THAT thought in my head for quite a while. Somehow, Mr. Arnold got it fundamentally - if beautifully - wrong.
Well, as I carried this thought around, something happened, as things do. This mulling turned into a poem - one that actually started out in response to something else - but somehow in the end became Almost Whole, and a response to Dover Beach.