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 gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.
I must down go 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 have loved this poem ever since I was a child. My father used to recite, not read, it to me. We spent our summers on Lake Michigan, and whereas Lake Michigan is not the sea, it was and is spectacular to me.
Masefield was born in 1878 in Herefordshire, England and was trained as a merchant seaman. In 1895 he left his ship in New York City and worked in a carpet factory. He soon returned home to London to write poetry and became the British poet laureate in 1930.
Even if you do not live by the sea, the poem keeps dreams in your head.