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The Sea

Symbol Analysis

"Meeting at Night" opens with a description of the "grey sea," which is followed shortly thereafter by a description of some waves, a cove, and a beach. It seems that the sea, and the things associated with it, are always in the way in this poem; the speaker must negotiate them in order to reach the farm where the meeting will take place.

  • Line 1: The speaker tells us that the sea is grey.
  • Lines 3-4: The speaker implies that he is sailing by describing the waves. Waves don't really leap. That's giving something non-human a human ability, and that's called personification. The waves aren't literally on fire either; the speaker is comparing them to something "fiery." This is a metaphor.
  • Line 5: The speaker reaches a cove, or a sheltered area near a coastline. The cove is a symbol of shelter in the poem, as it allows the speaker to get away from the "fiery" waves and closer to his meeting.
  • Lines 6: The speaker stops his boat in "slushy sand" (i.e., sand that appears to be kind of watery, you know, like a slushy?). That's because it's near a body of water.
  • Line 7: The speaker describes a "warm sea-scented beach" that he must cross.

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