Friday, August 25, 2006

Sea Fever - John Masefield

Another poet, another John and another favourite. This is one of my favourite poems of all time. Closely followed by the ditty - 'That money talks, I won't deny; I heard it once, it said goodbye!'. I fear that Sea Fever may only be truly accessible to those for whom the call of the running tide is one that can be heard, but I hope I'm wrong. Reading this poem recalls memories of times I have been at sea, heeled at a ridiculous angle, awestruck by the darkness, the number of stars, the phosphorescents twinkling out of the coaming and the sheer force of the sea. It is one of the few times in my life when I have truly been at peace; I think this is why I hear and feel the sea's call, and why I love this poem so very much.

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 grey mist on the sea's face and a grey 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

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