Sea Fever, John Masefield

Bit of serendipity this poem. Whilst trying to find out more about Vicki Feaver and her poem for lockdown day 9, I stumbled upon this one. I had forgotten how much I love this poem. I love the sea and although I do not live near it, nor think that I will be there any time soon, this poem encapsulates that evocative, unrelenting call of the sea for me. Particularly a wintery or a rough sea. We used to go to the sea every New Year’s Day, when the sea was most definitely grey and almost angry.

January sea

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 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 gyspy 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.


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