+0
"Meeting At Night"

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

-Alright, I am having trouble understanding the two bold areas of this poem.

a. I do not understand what these "fiery ringlets" actually are beside maybe the waves around the continent which is, most likely, wrong.

b. Also in "as I gain the cove", I can see the character as gaining ground in the setting but have no idea what the intended meaning of "pushing prow" is, old-english or not.

Help if possible

-TheDaringMove
Comments  
I think the 'fiery ringlets' are the little waves around the prow of his boat, caused by the prow pushing quickly through the water. They are startled from their sleep as it were, by this unexpected boat (after all, it's night).

As for the 'pushing prow', I think it simply refers to the front of the boat landing on the beach. The fact that it's 'pushing' tells you that the speaker was rowing fast. Apparently he's eager to get to wherever it is he's going.

I have read essays suggesting that, since this is a Victorian poem and sex wasn't openly discussed back then, there is a sexual meaning to all that as well, the sea and waves representing some sort of foreplay and his gaining the cove with pushing prow the start of sexual intercourse. I don't know whether the poet meant to suggest this, but I think it's possible
The whole poem is about a sexual act. The fiery ringlets are pubic hair, the pushing prow is clearly phallic. The blue spurt is orgasmic. It was a way around the Victorian attitudes of censorship.