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.

– John Masefield

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2 thoughts on “Sea-Fever

  1. The first two lines of John Masefield’s poem Sea-Fever are featured on the headstone of the word class yachtsman and New Zealand’s national hero Peter Blake.

  2. I like to think of her as I saw her first,
    A young slip of a girl in the fishing village of Argyle.
    The sun was goin’ down; she stood upon the rocks,
    Her long hair blowin’ out behind her there
    Like brown seaweed on the curve of a wave.
    Her sea-green eyes were fixed on the outgoin’ tide –
    She was singin’ to it —

    She loved the sea with a passion that was surely strange.
    Her father, in his ancient Gaelic tongue would say
    That from her birth, the great pulse of the sea
    Had beat in the veins of her, and that she’d know
    No rest, no peace of soul away from it.
    A truer word was never spoke.

    For love of me, she came out here,
    To the far-flung prairies, nigh a thousand miles
    From the nearest ocean bed,
    And in her years with me, she never uttered a word of it,
    But I knew —
    Knew that she was sick for the sight of it,
    Knew that she was starvin’ for the sound of the boomin’ breakers
    On her homeland crags,
    For the tappin’ and the whisperin’ of the spent tide,
    Seekin’ her on the shining cobbles of her father’s door.

    But no word of her hunger ever passed her lips
    Until that night she went,
    Leavin’ her helpless babe, but three days old, behind her.
    All night long, she was in high delirium,
    When I found her, she was talkin’ strange
    She had the feel of wet spume on her forehead,
    She had the smell of seaweed in her nostrils.
    I had my arms about her, when she died.

    She sat up sudden-like, her eyes bright and gleamin’ with the fever,
    She grasped my hand, and cried out, breathless-like,
    Can ye hear it, Love? Can ye hear it?
    It’s comin’ in! The tide’s comin’ in!

    Aye, the tide came in, and the tide went out, takin’ her with it.
    Out of my arms,
    Out of my life.
    — [Author unknown] —

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