Sunday, May 18, 2014

John Masefield - Poetry

I don't know this poet or the poem.  The poet is John Masefield and the poem is called 'Sea Fever'.

I must go 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 sails shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go 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 go 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.

Oh, this appeals to me!  I've lived almost all of my life in the prairie lands and yet, I've become absolutely entranced with sailing.  There is a romance to the whole notion, of course.  And, like all romances, the unpleasant realities are hidden by the glamour of the good stuff, I'm sure.  But I'm still in love with the idea.
The few times that I've been near the ocean, I've loved it.  And so, even though my experiences are very different, I can also say that 'I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky'.  I'm not sure that I'd do well with a 'tall ship and a star to steer her by', but someday I'd like to find out!
I like this, I really and truly do.


  1. I know this poem! I learnt it from my mother and I can only suppose that she was introduced to it in school. The images are very familiar to me …… I've lived most of my life near the ocean and spend a month in the summer right beside it! The "flung spray" and "blown spume" is a wonderful description …. my favourite. Thanks for sharing this, Peder!

    1. You're very welcome! One thing I've loved about this poetry project is that I've run across so many little gems that I'd never read before. This is definitely in that category.