Friday, February 9, 2018

new picture old poem

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 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.

~ John Masefield


  1. Hi Susan
    A colourful lovely picture that captures the energy of the surf and spray.
    You may be aware that "Sea-Fever" was set to music and it is a piece which I have sung in the past along with some of his other ballads such as “Trade Winds”.
    Treat yourself to one the finest versions by that master Bryn Terfel; "Sea Fever"; version by John Ireland, by googling u tube Sea fever. Bryn’s interpretation and vocal delivery in my view is superb, adding new life and vitality to those marvellous words of the poem.
    Best wishes

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      I think it turned out well too so I'm happy to know the picture pleased you.
      Thanks for mentioning Bryn Terfel's version of Sea Fever. I knew the poem had been set to music but hadn't heard it done. His powerful voice does great justice to the words.
      All the best

  2. ... and here is an inventive choral version, sung by a male chorus:

    1. Thanks, Halle. That was most wonderful and made me wish that humans would spend more time singing with one another. So much of the rest is nonsense.

  3. What a lovely picture, Susan. And I enjoyed to follow Lindsay's hint to Bryn Terfel.

    1. Thank you, Sean. I liked this one so much I didn't want to spoil the effect by posting anything that could be construed as contoversial. Turned out to be a good decision as I also enjoyed the links sent by Lindsay and Halle.

  4. Every chance I've ever gotten down to the sea. But here in Minnesota we live several thousand miles away...:) Ouch thats bad... But we do live only two hundred from the shores of Gitchee Gumi our inland sea..

    1. Having been raised in Ontario, Ray, I'm very familiar with the freshwater inland seas of the Great Lakes. Although our house overlooked a small lake it was always a treat in summer to go to the big ones - Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay was both wild and wonderful. Thanks for the reminder of Hiawatha - can't believe I used to be able to recite the whole poem (it was a requirement).

      By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
      By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
      At the doorway of his wigwam,
      In the pleasant Summer morning,
      Hiawatha stood and waited.
      All the air was full of freshness,
      All the earth was bright and joyous,
      And before him, through the sunshine,
      Westward toward the neighboring forest
      Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
      Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
      Burning, singing in the sunshine.

  5. Lovely artwork, Susan! Reading Masefield's poem, I could not help singing it in my mind, so was delighted to read the comments on how it has been set to music many times.

    Hope you are surviving the winter. Any signs of spring yet? After the monsoon rains, spring has sprung with the snowdrops cheerfully blooming.

    1. Thank you, Marja-Leena. :) I thought the two of them a good match as well.

      No signs of spring in these parts yet. What generally happens is that all the spring flowers bloom at once.. in late May or early June.

  6. A favorite of mine for a long time. And your art is as always, splendid. Though the dog needs a better board and to work on his technique. The poem has always reminded me of Jack London's work, though that might be because I read them both around the same time.
    When I was on trips for business, I'd find notes in my bags from my wife Cary, and she'd quote a line from a poem she'd like, e.g. "...may the wind be at your back..." I still wake at night and think she's been whispering in my ear. She's been gone 21 years now.
    Anyway, thanks for the post.

    1. Yes, it's a short but very matter of fact description of what draws people to the sea. I wonder if your having read The Sea Wolf makes you think of Jack London when you think of this poem by Masefield?

      I understand and sympathize, Mike, that she must have been the best of companions. I can only hope your belief system allows you to believe she really does whisper to you.

    2. Oh, she does. Recently, when reading one of Murr's excellent posts, regarding something I had little or no experience with, she said, sotto voce, "You have nothing to add, dear. Move on to the fishing blogs."

    3. That's good. Nevertheless, it still hurts to have someone close but not quite here.

      Murr is very entertaining and wise as well.