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Sea Fever

Sea Fever (John Masefield) -

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 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.

~ John Masefield


Much of his writing was inspired by his early experiences as a merchant seaman. In “Sea Fever,” the speaker describes his life at sea.

From “Masefield was born on 1st June, 1878 in Ledbury, Herefordshire, England. He left King’s School in Warwick, where he had lived as a boarder, to join the British naval ship HMS Conway to be trained at sea. He spent many years on the ship and spent a lot of time in reading and writing.

During his time on HMS Conway, Masefield developed a passion for storytelling. He recorded all his experiences about sailing and extreme weather conditions in his notebooks. The beauty of nature inspired him greatly.

Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald recommended Masefield to King George V to be the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom to replace Robert Bridges. Masefield was appointed to the position in 1930. He became Poet Laureate and held the office for about 37 years (until he died in 1967).”


More Poems

“Introduction to Poetry” (Billy Collins) | “Wise” (Elizabeth Macklin) | “Te Deum” (Charles Reznikoff)

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