Saturday, 4 August 2012
Poetry Saturday . . . 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
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
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
Ahhh . . . the sea. Can there be anything on earth more invigorating??? I think not . . . the sound of the gulls flying over head, the sound of the waves bashing against the shore . . . the smell of the salt and the brine and the seaweed. I do so love it so. The sun is shining perhaps we'll take ourselves off to the seaside today. Where I come from, I've never been more than 20 minutes away from the sea . . . and thankfully over here, I've always been within an easy drive of it as well. That's my Nova Scotian blood speaking . . . always a Maritimer is me.
John Masefield was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever".
Masefield was born in Ledbury in Herefordshire, to Caroline and George Masefield, a solicitor. His mother died giving birth to his sister when Masefield was only six, and he went to live with his aunt. His father died soon after following a mental breakdown. After an unhappy education at the King's School in Warwick (now known as Warwick School), where he was a boarder between 1888 and 1891, he left to board the HMS Conway, both to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He spent several years aboard this ship and found that he could spend much of his time reading and writing. It was aboard the Conway that Masefield's love for story-telling grew. While on the ship, he listened to the stories told about sea lore. He continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself.
In 1894, Masefield boarded the Gilcruix, destined for Chile - this first voyage bringing him the experience of sea sickness. He recorded his experiences while sailing through the extreme weather, his journal entries reflecting a delight in seeing flying fish, porpoises, and birds, and was awed by the beauty of nature, including a rare sighting of a nocturnal rainbow on his voyage. On reaching Chile, Masefield suffered from sunstroke and was hospitalized. He eventually returned home to England as a passenger aboard a steam ship. In 1895, Masefield returned to sea on a windjammer destined for New York City. However, the urge to become a writer and the hopelessness of life as a sailor overtook him, and in New York, he deserted ship. He lived as a vagrant for several months, before returning to New York City, he did many odd jobs, finding work as an assistant to a bar keeper.
Sometime around Christmas in 1895, Masefield read the December 1895 edition of Truth, a New York periodical, which contained the poem "The Piper of Arll" by Duncan Campbell Scott. Ten years later, Masefield wrote to Scott to tell him what reading that poem had meant to him: "I had never (till that time) cared very much for poetry, but your poem impressed me deeply, and set me on fire. Since then poetry has been the one deep influence in my life, and to my love of poetry I owe all my friends, and the position I now hold.
I do so love poetry and learning more about the poets who write them . . . I have a poet's soul I think . . .
A happy thought for the day . . .
"Real joy comes not from ease or riches or
from praise of men, but from doing something
~Sir Wilfred Grenfell
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Apple and Berry Crumble for One.