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I Must Go Down to the Sea (to be read at my wake)

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I Must Go Down to the Sea - 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.

**********

I came across this poem today and it occurred to me that I'd like to have this read at my wake. Remember the Star Trek: TNG episode where Capt. Picard is suddenly immersed in the life of a family of a long-gone civilization on another planet? This is a poem which can do that briefly, albeit on a small scale. It has the feel of being a plein air poem, perhaps partially written on the spot, denoting the human experience of exhilaration. The last line makes it a bit funereal which is why it would be especially well-suited to a wake reading.


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4 Comments

Posted

I don't know if it's the actual title of the poem but that tile read as a single thought ( i.e including the brackets) is brilliant.

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Posted

:-)

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Posted

Here's "Haven-Heaven" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Perhaps a less vigorous and romantic poem, but filled with Hopkins' usual genius for rhythm and sounds:I have desired to goWhere springs not fail,To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail,And a few lilies blow.And I have asked to beWhere no storms come,Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,And out of the swing of the sea.

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