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Sea-Fever
by
John Masefield


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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 sail's shaking,
And a grey 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.

This poem is in the public domain.

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John Masefield (1878-1967) was an English poet, author, and playwright. Both his parents died while he was a child, and at the age of thirteen, annoyed with John's "addiction" to reading, the aunt in charge of caring for him sent him off to train for a life as a sailor. Although his experiences at sea provided much material for the stories and poems he would later write, John soon tired of that harsh life and, on a voyage to New York, he jumped ship. For two years, he worked at odd jobs in that city, using his free time for reading and writing. He eventually returned to England, married, had two children, and established himself as a significant literary talent. As his stature as a writer continued to grow, John became an internationally successful lecturer and was appointed as England's poet laureate, a position he held for nearly forty years. He actively wrote and published until he was 88 years old.

 


New comments are closed for now.
Michelle:
This reminds me of my dad. He was in the navy, and loved the sea, the sea always seemed to be his princess. The beautiful , and black stories he would tell me, giving his princess respect at all times. I love this poem, thank you Jayne for adding it today !
Posted 02/24/2011 02:31 PM
dotief@comcast.net:
When my husband was into sailing and we had sailboats, I always felt those first two lines about a "tall ship and a star to steer her by..." Sheer magic!
Posted 02/24/2011 09:21 AM
Buckner14:
Thanks for posting this . . . I hadn't revisited it in years and it's good to see how fine it is--sharp images, rollicking rhythm, vivid diction.
Posted 02/24/2011 08:02 AM


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