Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sea Fever

by John Masefield

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.

Quite apart desperately feeling the need to heed the call of the running tide, I so covet a beach house like our dear friends' fabulous one right on the ocean front. Sadly, our nearest water views are of the Civic, Tuggeranong or AIS pools.  We've been doing a lot of swimming of late in preparation for the South Canberra inter-school swimming carnival.  Alas, public pools are, I have grimly concluded, by and large, ugly and smelly places.  That Civic pool in particular attracts an especially diverse and eccentric crowd I've noted. Quite a wacky place to people watch. Not unlike a popular beach in summer time -- all shapes and sizes and uninhibited displays of flesh minus the sunbathing and beachcombing.  We've also witnessed the extraordinary spectacle of an underwater hockey match during one of our recent pool excursions.  Now that IS a farsical water sport, proving my theory that living too far from the sea induces madness.  

Poet laureate of Great Britain from 1930 until his death, John Masefield was only 22 years old when he wrote the simple and moving lines in his poem 'Sea Fever'.


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