View Full Version : Maritime Related Poems

02-04-2007, 08:52 PM
My sea-worn heart

I've known seas tall as Himalayas belaying
sails off Cape Horn frozen as hard as iron.

Aye, with frost-bit fingers, I have dreamed of you,
my sweet darling, my one true love, my Mary Lou.

Such things I have seen! Tropic bights like gas,
oceans of temptation, where I have fallen, lass.

Such ports in Hell I've known--devil-men too.
So I have believed I'd never sail back to you.

I've braved the Sunda Trench, the Malacca Strait,
hoping beyond praying that for me you might wait!

In a fever, I do not deserve your affection--this I know:
sea serpents, shark's teeth torment me where 'ere I go.

Forgive me, Mary Lou. I am but a weak and humble man.
The sea is in my bones, my blood--it makes me what I am.

Christopher T. George

02-05-2007, 01:19 AM
My sea-worn heart Nice. Echo's of John E M Sumner, if i'm not mistaken.:handclap:

02-05-2007, 01:20 AM
Thanks, Sloyne. I will post some Masefield here shortly.


02-05-2007, 01:37 AM
Thanks, Sloyne. I will post some Masefield here shortly.You're welcome, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking foreward to Masefield, Sea-Fever I hope.

02-05-2007, 11:23 AM
By special request, Sloyne, poems by John Masefield (1878-1967), the English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967, beginning with what is probably his most famous poem, "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 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

Trade Winds

IN the harbor, in the island, in the Spanish Seas,
Are the tiny white houses and the orange trees,
And day-long, night-long, the cool and pleasant breeze
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

There is the red wine, the nutty Spanish ale,
The shuffle of the dancers, the old salt's tale,
The squeaking fiddle, and the soughing in the sail
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

And o' nights there's fire-flies and the yellow moon,
And in the ghostly palm-trees the sleepy tune
Of the quiet voice calling me, the long low croon
Of the steady Trade Winds blowing.

John Masefield

A Wanderer's Song

A wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels,
I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon-wheels;
I hunger for the sea's edge, the limit of the land,
Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.

Oh I'll be going, leaving the noises of the street,
To where a lifting foresail-foot is yanking at the sheet;
To a windy, tossing anchorage where yawls and ketches ride,
Oh I'l be going, going, until I meet the tide.

And first I'll hear the sea-wind, the mewing of the gulls,
The clucking, sucking of the sea about the rusty hulls,
The songs at the capstan at the hooker warping out,
And then the heart of me'll know I'm there or thereabout.

Oh I am sick of brick and stone, the heart of me is sick,
For windy green, unquiet sea, the realm of Moby D*ck;
And I'll be going, going, from the roaring of the wheels,
For a wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels.

John Masefield

In an article entitled "Tall Ship," (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,787681,00.html) Time magazine on-line has published an interesting book review of Masefield's The Wanderer of Liverpool (1930), from the magazine's issue of October 27, 1930. This is a book I recommend as a nice collection of sea poems related to career of the Liverpool steel four-masted barque, The Wanderer, including a historical narrative on the ship, photographs, and architectural drawings.

The Time article erroneously states that Masefield was born in Liverpool. He was not. The poet was born in the town of Ledbury, Herefordshire, England, on June 1, 1878. He did though serve as a cadet on the HMS Conway on the Mersey, rounded Cape Horn as an apprentice aboard the Gilcruix, was hospitalized with fever in Chile, and later deserted ship and worked his way to New York City. A full biography can be found at John Masefield (http://www.publishingcentral.com/masefield/biography.html).


02-05-2007, 01:18 PM
By special request, Sloyne, poems by John Masefield (1878-1967), the English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967, beginning with what is probably his most famous poem, "Sea-Fever." :)Thanks Chris, a very pleasant way to start the day. Thanks again.

02-07-2007, 01:49 PM
This is from my friend Rick Storey:

It is my view that Masefield is an overlooked and much underestimated writer, that is not to say he is without his weaknesses but he has immense strengths too. Apart from his love of the sea he was scientifically literate, astronomically knowledgable, and he was keen on boxing - see his long narrative poem "The Everlasting Mercy".

Here are lines from Masefield's long almost epic poem "The Wanderer" -

"Therefore go forth, Companion,
until you find no highway more,
no track, all being blind
the way to go will linger
in the mind."

I don't want to overstate the case for a reappraisal of JM but it is time his work was looked at again I feel.