When the long trick’s over…

 

Today is National Poetry Day, and although it’s familiar to all, this poem by John Masefield was always going to find a place on this blog.  Sea-Fever was first published in 1902 in the compilation Salt-Water Ballads (Salt-Water Ballads!don’t you just want to have a crumpled original copy in your pocket at all times?).  Today I got thinking of the poem’s last words, ‘when the long trick’s over’: a trick being a journey at sea or a turn at the helm, but in this case, of course, a life.  …But the poem needs no explanation, being a perfect song of yearning.

from ipod 1326

Image by C. Devine 2011

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 sail’s 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 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

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6 thoughts on “When the long trick’s over…”

  1. Thanks Lee, I’m chuffed! Love your blog too; the description of the lackadaisical owner/waitress and the supurb cocktail maker still sticks in my mind! As does the short surfing/love story. And others. See; you should advertise your wares more, so to speak : )

  2. Wonderful! Always remember that from school. and the first line springs to mind often to remind me to do just that.

  3. Albert : ) I never came across it at school, or under any circumstance where I was compelled to learn. Just got me the first time I came across it; which shows it’s simple power : )

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