A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 7 October 2010


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 sails 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 gipsy 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

(Poem by John Masefield. Photos by The Solitary Walker. The tall, square-rigged ship lies moored in Charlestown dockyard near St Austell. The other pics show a stormy day in Porthleven, except the last one which is a view looking back at Land's End.)


George said...

". . . down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life." How many of us continue to hear that siren call, stuck, as we are, in world that wants to keep us in a labeled box! Think of Whitman. Now there's a vagrant gypsy, to his everlasting credit.

Tramp said...

If the white clouds are flying, I'd settle for an invigorating walk along the coast. Despite some time spent on board ship I am no sailor.

Bonnie said...

"...and all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover..." Request granted upon arrival here!

Val said...

i was looking for this poem only yesterday!! i love the wind like a whetted knife. Have you walked thru Pembrokeshire ever?

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, George, Whitman is one of your greatest, freedom-loving American writers. 'Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther...' (Excelsior)

Tramp - I am no real sailor, either (unlike George!) Though I do prefer trains and boats to planes and cars.

And Bonnie - 'I was riding on the Mayflower...' (Dylan). Saw the departure point of the Mayflower in Plymouth later on my walk. Though Dylan also sang: 'The Titanic sails at dawn'. So no absolute guarantee of a safe arrival, I fear... Fancy a merry yarn, though!

Val - that simile is wonderful, I agree! I've walked some small sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (amazing), and used to visit Pembrokeshire in my publishing sales job years back... My favourite place was Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas lived and is buried.