Poetry-in-Motion 6

Jun 18, 2010, 7:49 AM |

I have lived at the sea's edge and sailed pretty much all my life, and yesterday I read this poem at a gathering in memory of a friend, an ancient mariner who, after completing one career in her majesty's Royal Navy, took another in teaching and went on to become the head of a local Primary school, a man who settling in the same coastal hamlet as I.

The poem is called Sea Fever by John Masefield, an English poet and Poet Laureate here from 1930 until his death in 1967.


(From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put)    Smile

Sea Fever

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.


I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


John Masefield