Exeter, Devon UK • May 22, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Arts & Lit Saluting summer poetry: an ode to our favourites

Saluting summer poetry: an ode to our favourites

Joseph Terry, Print Sports Editor, delves into his favourite summer poem: Sea Fever by John Masefield.
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Saluting summer poetry: an ode to our favourites

Image: Pixahive

Joseph Terry, Print Sports Editor, delves into his favourite summer poem: Sea Fever by John Masefield.

Summer is upon us, and summer is defined by the sea for most of us. For somebody who has been brought up by the sea, on the coast of the Seven Sisters, I view the sea as a living and breathing creature. This anthropomorphic character of the sea is portrayed masterfully in ‘Sea Fever’.

Masefield’s sensory tenor presents the tactile and tangible experience of visiting the seafront.

We see the ships and sailing boats on the horizon, pleading with the breeze for merciful propulsion, looking into the skies for guidance to navigate. We feel the spray and the spume, of salt settling onto your tongue. We hear the seagulls crying, a sound I have heard my whole life through my bedroom window, and a sound I have missed in Exeter.

Masefield’s sensory tenor presents the tactile and tangible experience of visiting the seafront.

We receive the supernatural pull towards the tide, as if gravity is stronger whilst three-inch levellers roll into the stones, themselves a mark of the passage of time.

Masefield asserts that we must not deny the wide and clear call of the tide – for what reason? For peace, and for reflection. A friendship with a rover and a wish for a peaceful death follows – proving the healing qualities of the sea. The tranquillity of the seaside is philanthropic, an experience I can associate with.

For as nihilistic, pensive and grey as this poem may be, this poem gives the sea a voice that I’ve known for years. A commanding voice of power. A voice of melancholic beauty.

One year in Exeter away from my Eastbourne, and I say to myself just as Masefield’s narrator: “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky”.

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