The sea is a recurrent theme in poetry and literature . It is a natural phenomenon that many poets have described, as it awakens many sensations, through its waves, its sensation of calm or storm, its colours, its sound, its smell…

In this article we will know the 18 best Poems about the Sea , from the best authors of all times.

The best Poems and verses about the Sea

The 18 best Poems about the Sea that we are going to read belong to the best poets of different periods; we will find authors like Mario Benedtti, Antonio Machado, Jorge Luis Borges, Federico García Lorca, Guillermo Prieto…

We will see how many of them incorporate in their poems, besides the sea, other natural elements (beach, sun, wind…). We will also see how they frequently personify the sea, attributing to it characteristics and actions typical of human beings.

1. The Sea, by Jorge Luis Borges

Before Sleep (or Terror) Knitted

mythologies and cosmogonies,

before time was minted in days,

the sea, the ever-present sea, was already and was.

Who is the sea? Who is the violent one

and ancient being that gnaws at the pillars

of the earth and is one and many seas

and chasm and glow and chance and wind?

Whoever looks at it sees it for the first time,

always. With the amazement that things

elementals leave, the beautiful

afternoons, the moon, a fire in a bonfire.

Who is the sea, who am I? I will know the day

subsequent to the agony.

  • Comment: In this poem, Jorge Luis Borges talks about love as something shocking and beautiful; he describes it, and emphasizes how one feels when seeing it: as if it were always the first time. He also refers to it as something that was before anything else, before the universe and the cosmos.

2. The Sea, by Mario Benedetti (excerpt)

What is the sea, anyway?

Why does he seduce? Why does he tempt?

usually invades us like a dogma

and forces us to be shore

swimming is a form of embracing

to ask you again for disclosures

but the water strokes are not magic

there are dark waves that drown out daring

and all-confusing mists

the sea is a covenant or a sarcophagus

from infinity brings unreadable messages

and ignored prints of the abyss

sometimes transmits a turbine

tense and elemental melancholy

the sea is not ashamed of its castaways

totally lacks conscience

and yet it attracts temptation flame

lick the suicide’s territories

and tells stories with a dark ending

  • Comment: Benedetti speaks of the sea as something mysterious full of hidden messages; he describes its waves, its waters and the shore that precedes it. He also describes the sensations the sea transmits, especially melancholy, and makes a metaphor; he talks about swimming in it as a way to embrace it (in a way he personifies it).

3. I Remember the Sea, by Pablo Neruda (excerpt)

Chilean, have you been to sea in this time?

Walk in my name, wet your hands and raise them up

and I from other lands will worship those drops

that fall from the endless water on your face.

I know, I have lived all the coast of me,

the thick North Sea, from the moors, to

the stormy weight of foam on the islands.

I remember the sea, the cracked and the railroad coasts

of Coquimbo, the haughty waters of Tralca,

the lonely waves of the South, which created me.

I remember in Puerto Montt or in the islands, at night,

when returning along the beach, the boat waiting,

and our feet left fire in their tracks,

the mysterious flames of a phosphorescent god.

  • Comment: In this poem Pablo Neruda talks about different places near the sea, and the sea itself (Puerto Montt, Coquimbo, Tralca, North Sea…). He describes his passion for the sea and the sensations it transmits to him. He talks about its waters, the sand, the foam, etc.

4. Sea, by Federico García Lorca (excerpt)

The sea is

the Lucifer of the blue.

The Fallen Sky

for wanting to be the light.

Poor doomed sea

to eternal movement,

having previously been

still in the sky!

But from your bitterness

you were redeemed by love.

You gave birth to pure Venus,

and keep your depth

virgin and painless.

Your sorrows are beautiful,

sea of glorious spasms.

But today instead of stars

you have greenish octopuses.

Hold your suffering,

formidable Satan.

Christ walked for you,

but so did Pan.

  • Comment: Federico García Lorca talks about the movement of the sea, its colour and the animals that live in it (“greenish octopus”). He mentions sadness as something beautiful. He also speaks about Christ and Satan, referring to legends of the bible that took place in the sea.

5. In front of the sea, by Octavio Paz

The wave is shapeless?

In an instant it sculpts

and in another it falls apart

in which it emerges, round.

His movement is his form.

Waves are retreating

anklets, backs, necks?

but the waves return

Breasts, mouths, foams?

The sea dies of thirst.

He squirms, with no one,

on his bedrock.

He’s dying of air hunger.

  • Comment: Octavio Paz first describes the waves of the sea; their shape, their movement. He also personifies it, as other poets do: “The sea dies of thirst”, making a sort of play on words (die of thirst, water, sea…) How can “something” that is full of water die of thirst? And then, it goes on: “Dies of thirst for air.”

6. They say: The sea is sad, by Marià Manent

They say: the sea is sad. What a sign

makes every wave, when it breaks!

And I see a sad sea, but in the middle

you, like a pearl.

They say: the earth is sad.

What a sign the blade makes!

Barely dare.

See the sad land, but in the middle

you, like a rose.

  • Comment: The poet Marià Manent talks about the sadness that transmits (or that is/are) the sea and the land. And he introduces -surely- a person, in the middle of the sea, as a sea pearl, and in the middle of the earth, as a rose that blooms. That is, it unites the human being and the natural phenomena, mixing them, incorporating the first into the second.

7. How the Sea Will Be, by Guillermo Prieto (excerpt)

Your name, or sea, resounds within me;

awakens my tired fantasy:

move, enlarge my soul,

of fervent enthusiasm fills it.

Nothing limited compresses me,

when I imagine contemplating your breast;

alluvial, melancholic and serene,

or august brow; thy mooing sublime.

You will be oh sea! magnificent and great

when you are sleeping in peace and quiet;

when your breast is still and dilated

caress the delicious atmosphere?

  • Comment: Guillermo Prieto talks about what the word “sea” provokes in him; the commotion, the feeling of “enlarging the soul”, the enthusiasm… He personifies the sea, and talks about its “bosom” and its sounds. For him the sea is something magnificent and splendid, which transmits many emotions.

8. The Sad Sea, by Antonio Machado

Feel a sea of grey wave steel

inside the rough gnawed walls

from the old port. The north wind blows


Close the evening horizon

overcast. On the sea of steel

there’s a leaden sky.

The red brigantine is a ghost

bloody, over the sea, that the sea shakes…

Dreary buzzes the north wind and whistles sadly

on the sour lyre of the strong rigging.

The red brigantine is a ghost

that the wind stirs and rocks the curly sea,

the rough, curly sea of gray waves.

  • Comment: Antonio Machado describes the sea and also personifies it, as most authors do: he talks about it pulsating, he talks about its colors (he names several), the wind that accompanies it, the waves (which are “gray”)… He also attributes other actions to it: “lulling”. He talks about it as if he felt, as if he had emotions like us. On the other hand, he describes other phenomena, such as the sky (“leaden sky”).

9. Se alegra el mar, by José Gorostiza (excerpt)

We’ll go get

banana leaves in the banana tree.

The sea is happy.

We’ll go get them on the road,

father of the skeins of flax.

The sea is happy.

Because the moon (turns fifteen on pain)

it gets white, blue, red, brown.

The sea is happy.

For the moon learns counsel from the sea,

in spikenard perfume wants to move.

The sea is happy.

Seven spikenard sticks I will detach

for my girlfriend with the nice foot.

  • Comment: José Gorostiza also personifies the sea, attributing to it human actions or characteristics. Throughout the poem he repeats several times that “the sea is happy”. He also mentions a banana plantation, a road, the moon… that is, different phenomena of nature as well.

10. Tus gritos y mis gritos en el alba, by Gabriel Celaya

Your screams and my screams at dawn.

Our white horses running

with a light powder on the beach.

Your lips and my saltpetre lips.

Our blond heads passed out.

Your eyes and my eyes,

your hands and my hands.

Our bodies

algae blooms.

Oh love, love!

Dawn Beaches.

  • Comment: This poem is a little different, it does not make such a direct allusion to the sea, but rather to the beach. Thus, Gabriel Celaya starts talking about the dawn and the beach. He incorporates marine elements but focuses on him and another person (“your eyes and my eyes, your hands and my hands”…). He talks about love and mentions the beaches at dawn as something romantic.

11. Calm, by Eliseo Diego

This silence,

white, unlimited,

this silence

of the sea, calm, motionless,

that suddenly

break the light snails

by an impulse of the breeze,


from evening to evening, it takes a rest

maybe because of the sand

of fire,

the infinite

deserted beach,

in a way

that does not end,


this silence,


  • Comment: Eliseo Diego, more than defining the sea, speaks of its silence, which is broken by the sound of the breeze. He talks about how this silence expands along the beach, the shore, and even in the afternoon and night.

12. By the Sea, by José Hierro

If I die, they can put me naked,

naked by the sea.

Grey waters will be my shield

and there will be no fighting.

If I die, I’ll be left alone.

The sea is my garden.

He cannot, who loved the waves,

to wish for another end.

I will hear the melody of the wind,

the mysterious voice.

The time will finally be over

who mows like a sickle.

That mows grief

  • Comment: In this poem, José Hierro talks about the only thing he wants when he dies: to be by the sea. He doesn’t care about anything else. He also mentions other elements: the waves (“he loved the waves”) and the wind (“the melody of the wind”).
  • 13. Ocaso, by Manuel Machado

    It was a listless, resounding sigh

    the voice of the sea that evening… The day,

    not wanting to die, with golden claws

    of the cliffs would be lit.

    But her breast the sea rose up strong,

    and the sun, at last, as in a superb bed,

    sank in the waves the golden forehead,

    in a broken-down cardboard grill.

    For my poor aching body,

    for my sad lacerated soul,

    for my wounded heart,

    for my bitterly weary life…

    the beloved sea, the fancy sea,

    the sea, the sea, and not thinking anything…!

    • Comment: Manuel Machado also personifies the sea in this poem (“la voz del mar”, “su seno el mar”, etc.). Like many other poets, he includes other elements of nature, such as the sun, the waves… At the end he talks about his sadness and his pain, and how the sea is the only thing he needs (“the sea, and not thinking of anything…!”).

    14. Beach, by Manuel Altolaguirre

    To Federico Garcia Lorca.

    Boats in pairs,

    like sandals of the wind

    dried out in the sun.

    Me and my shadow, right angle.

    Me and my shadow, open book.

    On the lying sand

    as the spoils of the sea

    a child is found asleep.

    Me and my shadow, right angle.

    Me and my shadow, open book.

    And beyond, fishermen

    pulling the strings

    yellow and briny.

    Me and my shadow, right angle.

    Me and my shadow, open book.

    • Comment: This is a poem by Manuel Altolaguirre dedicated to Federico García Lorca. It mentions fishermen, the beach, the sand… and repeats several times the following verses: “Me and my shadow, right angle. Me and my shadow, open book.” You imagine a scene of someone on the beach, reading a book calmly and peacefully.

    15. The Black Sea, by Nicolás Guillén

    The Purple Night Dreams

    on the sea;

    the voice of the fishermen

    wet in the sea;

    the moon is dripping

    of the sea.

    The black sea.

    Between the night a son,

    flows into the bay;

    for between the night a son.

    Boats see it happen,

    between the night a son,

    by turning on the cold water.

    Between the night a son,

    between the night a son,

    between the night a son. . . .
    The black sea.

    -Oh, my fine golden mulatto,

    ay, mi mulata

    gold and silver,

    with its poppy and orange blossom,

    at the foot of the hungry and masculine sea,

    at the foot of the sea.

    • Comment: Nicolás Guillén refers to the sea in this poem as “the black sea”. From what he says, we can easily imagine a scene at night. At the end he introduces a female figure, a person that looks like the beloved person: “my mulatto of fine gold, my mulatto of gold and silver”.

    16. The Girl Who Goes to the Sea, by Rafael Alberti

    How white the skirt is

    the girl who goes to sea!

    Oh girl, don’t get it dirty

    the ink of the squid!

    How white your hands are, girl,

    that you leave without sighing!

    Oh girl, don’t get them dirty

    the ink of the squid!

    How white your heart is

    and what a target you are looking at!

    Oh girl, don’t get them dirty

    the ink of the squid!

    • Comment: In this poem, the protagonist, more than the sea, is a girl. With Rafael Alberti’s words we can imagine

      17. Hermosura, by Miguel de Unamuno (extract)

      Sleeping waters,

      Dense vegetable.

      Gold stones,

      Silver sky!

      From water comes dense vegetables;

      From the vegetable.

      Like giant spikes, the towers

      That in the sky they burilan

      In silver your gold.

      It’s four sashes:

      The one on the river, on it the boulevard.

      The Citizen Tower

      And the sky in which it rests.

      And all resting on the water,

      Fluid foundation,

      Water of centuries,

      Mirror of beauty.


      • Comment: Miguel de Unamuno alludes to gold, silver… (“golden stones”, “silver sky”), when he describes the sea. He describes the sea as something beautiful, hence the title of the poem “beauty”.

      18. Very Serene is the Sea, by Gil Vicente

      Very serene is the sea,

      To the oars, oarsmen!

      This is the ship of love!

      To the beat of the serenas

      will sing new songs,

      you will row with sad sorrows

      rowing flights of sorrows;

      three pairs of sighs

      and stop the pain:

      this is the ship of love.

      And rowing in torment,

      you will find other storms

      with desperate seas

      and disastrous affronts;

      three happy lives

      with the major pains:

      this is the ship of love.

      • Comment: In this poem, Gil Vicente talks about the serenity of the sea, about its tranquility, which can be interrupted. He also mentions the oarsmen or sailors who go around the sea; he talks about what they can find: love, storms, turbulent waters… Thus, he continually refers to the “ship of love”.