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 1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967) was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate from 1930 until 1967. Among his best known works are the children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and the poems The Everlasting Mercy and Sea-Fever. - Read more about this poet here.


By John Masefield

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.

Note:  'When the long trick's over.'  The word 'trick' in sailing terms refers to a watch at sea: four hours watching and eight hours rest. We may take it at face value and assume Masefield is again drawing attention to the simplicity of a life at sea, emphasized by the wonderful balance between work and rest.

Note:  You might also like to see my 'shadow poems' which I've written.  I have based them on the rhythm which John Masefield has used in this poem - or should I say the 'metre'.  

Please go to:  Shorthand Fever and Shopping Fever

It is SUCH fun playing with words and metre.  Enjoy your writing.   Josie

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