“There is nothing like lying flat on your back on the deck, alone except for the helmsman aft at the wheel, silence except for the lapping of the sea against the side of the ship. At that time you can be equal to Ulysses and brother to him.”
— Errol Flynn
Looking for a song to help you lose sight of the shore? This month’s playlist features the latest from Florence + the Machine, Leon Bridges, and Chris Janson. It includes a few throwback classics from Styx and Lyle Lovett, plus dozens of other songs from many genres. If you can’t cast off in a boat at the moment, we’re here to help you feel the sea breeze in your hair wherever you are. Just click ‘play.’
In the well-known poem Sea Fever, John Masefield writes of his longing and wanderlust to return to life at sea. His use of assonance and alliteration creates echo and repetition, all of which begs to be memorized and recited aloud. If you also happen to be standing at the helm of a sailboat while reading it, even better.
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.
Think about a time when you were on a ship, sailboat, or boat. Write a poem about the experience. What souvenirs did your senses collect and place in memory? Was it warm or cold? Were the winds strong or fair? Think of all you saw and heard; what you smelled, tasted, and felt. Consider using assonance and alliteration to create rhythm and help guide your reader’s attention. If you’ve never been on the water, borrow a scene from a poem, book, or movie. You can live the life of a sailor vicariously!
Thanks to all who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Rick we enjoyed:
Photo by Sharada Prasad CS, Creative Commons, via Flickr.