To the Northern Sea Route
in the wake of the Finnish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld
In 2007, I bought an illustrated book of poetry named The Eternal Sea for a dollar from the Seward City Library, Alaska. For a superficial person like me, most poems seem far too deep and complicated and, therefore, the book's beautiful black and white photographs appealed to me much more than its poetry. But when eventually glancing through the poems, I came across one that touched me. So much in fact that I want to share it with you here.
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 seagulls 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 trip is over.
by J. Masefield