30 September 2003

Ullswater Poems 1

I sometimes wonder if these two poems helped me to choose my early life at sea. I am unable to pin point just when the initial desire to a want to travel started or indeed, even when I made up my mind.

I think the desire cumulated over time; the National Geographic magazines of Mrs. Nelson, the trophies they brought home from their trips abroad and the postcards she gave me. The John Masefield poem "Cargoes" used to send shivers down my spine, did the pictorial stamps I collected help me on my way? Who knows now? Did my desire to learn "radio" weld all my desires together and eventually to become a sea-going Radio Officer?

Anyway, here are another 2 of my favourite poems. 1st, my favouite of the two. Three verses, three different ages.


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with salt caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

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 sails shaking,
And the grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the sea 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 seagulls crying.

I must go down to the sea again,to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the winds like a whetted knife ;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long tricks over.

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