Poetry

There are some poems that have significant meaning to us, whether it is about sailing, or travel, or other things that have meaning to our lives. I wanted to share some of those with you.

Sea Fever This is a poem that we have memorized and recite to each other as we are setting out on a sail.  

Ithaca This speaks to us. We love the idea of exploring new places, and the importance of the journey rather than the destination.   

Island Girl Written by Bob

Sea Fever by John Masefield
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.

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Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

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Island Girl by Robert Gage

Under a breeze filled sea grape tree
An island girl strolled languidly
Down the path to the turquoise sea
Her movements tranquil, fluid, free.

Her dress, a vibrant tapestry,
A swaying lightweight drapery,
Fell across her femininity
Like quiet waves wash o'er the sea

And then she turned and smiled at me,
Her eyes twinkling playfully,
Revealing brave tranquility,
Unmasking my sweet reverie.

Under a breeze filled sea grape tree
Down the path to the turquoise sea
An island girl strolled languidly,
And stole a little bit of me.


We love to hear your comments.

  1. Cavafy: God Abandons Mark Antony:
    When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
    an invisible procession going by
    with exquisite music, voices,
    don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
    work gone wrong, your plans
    all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
    As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
    say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
    Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
    it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
    don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
    As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
    as is right for you who proved worthy of this kind of city,
    go firmly to the window
    and listen with deep emotion, but not
    with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
    listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
    to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
    and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

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    1. Palma, This is not Sarah, but her worse half just now finding this wonderful poem you have thoughtfully shared. I love it, somewhat, I am it. In the past decade I have read a good deal of historical fiction about Rome and Alexandria so I see the value of these words connected to then and now. Thanks

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