Tuesday, September 18, 2007



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.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)


Carol Anne said...

My edition of Masefield starts each stanza "I must go down to the seas again" and uses the British spelling "gray" in the last line of the first verse.

But this is one of my favorite poems, and I especially love the way Masefield uses rhythm, not sticking to iambs the way so many poets do, but making great use of the spondee to imitate the surging of the waves.

Masefield regretted the end of the age of sail, and much of his work shows that sadness for a passing era.

Tim said...

I must go down to th e sea again
to the lonely sea and sky
I lefct my vest and socks there
I wonder if thet're dry?

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