Monday, June 02, 2008

An Farraige (The Sea) (La Mer)

Off Signal Hill, St. John's, NL, May 2008

The power of the sea awes me. Always has.
At times, I feel her running through my bones. Calling me down.*
I live by her now. When I’m away from her I miss her like a lover.
I love skimming across her in a sailboat, the slap of her waves on the sides, the flap of the sails above, the cawk of seagulls in the distance and reaching over the side to touch her silence.
I love leaning out over the deck of the ferry, any ferry, and seeing her below, the trailing white wake churning behind. The prow slicing the blue depths ahead. Then, later, she rocks me to sleep in my cabin.
I love the power of her iceberg that can pull down a Titanic, and end up innocently, in a small bay (picture above, taken May 31, 2008) slowly unfolding into her mother’s arms.
I love her greed, taking away even more of the shoreline from here, altering headlands and laneways.
I love the gifts she carries, the smooth wood, the clamshells, the feathers, the kelp, the shifting stones.
I love her fury, her temper roaring behind a wall of storming water.
I love how she plays with me, wrestles with me, carries me like a baby.
I love her bounty, the sea creatures she offers us.
I love her white horses, often racing by my window, manes flying.
I love when the fog rolls in and she immediately turns a welcoming grey.
I love the sparkling diamonds of her as she rolls around on a sunny day.
I love how she responds to the moon, her mother, running to meet her, then flouncing off for another adventure.
I love how she has given us life.
And how she can take it away if we continue to insult her.

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 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 likea 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


  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

    I have spent 3 months a year on a beach in the Med because mmy grandma was a primary school teacher and every summer she'd swing down from Istanbul and pick me up from Ankara to take me to camping (tent, no 5 star hotels) by the sea. Every summer, from when I was 3 to about when I was 20.... And I was the beach bebe, forever comfortable swimming, diving, surfing, never laying down in the sun but always playing in the sea. I miss that a lot. I am in Sydney now but I can only say I have been to the sea maybe 10 times in 10 years.. :( I have to change that. You inspire me.

  2. Thank you Gaye.
    You'll get a full sea-fix in Sydney, I have not doubt.
    Great that you're back commenting!

  3. Wonderfully evocative writing, WWW, and nostalgic for me, too.

    I grew up and lived much of my life either on the coast of the UK, or close to it. Now I'm smack dab in the middle of the USA - no seas for thousands of miles in both directions. :-(

    Lakes and rivers, whilst very pleasant, just don't cut it do they?

    I love the sound of waves against rocks and of them coming in on a shingle beach.......ah...memories!

  4. That's a beautiful tribute to the sheer amazingness of the sea. I've always been drawn to the sea and any type of water (well, I'm Pisces). I just love the gentle swish and gurgle of streams and rivers and the breathtaking space and majesty of the sea. Very glad I'm now so close to sea and beaches and lakes and mountains. I didn't realise how deprived I was in London.

  5. Thank you Nick. Your Pisces explains it! I never feel complete until I'm near her, something clicks into balance.
    Glad you made it back to her!

  6. I love the sea too, but with a terrifying sort of awe, as if it is an entity that can hurt me if it is so inclined in her moodiness, I love looking at her and hearing her sounds and the rhythmic slapping of her waves, but I am scared of her too, because she can swallow up two thirds of my country. And her immense depths scare me and her invisibility of what she hides in her depths. I dream about her at night and it is always a tidal wave that comes to crash over all of us. Something huge lurks in the dark blue shadows and I need to get away from it as quickly as I can. But I do like the seashore and the waves that wash up on it. You can almost pretend it is benign.

  7. Her power is so mighty, Nora, I agree.
    But the fury of her storms can be very frightening.
    It seems that your dreams are still telling you so much about yourself!

  8. Lovely reflections on the sea - although Sea Fever brought back painful memories of being in detention and having to learn it! I'm fortunate enough to live by the sea now - can't see it from the house or I wouldn't be able to afford to live hear - but it's uplifting to see it every day.

  9. Funny that Chris, the stuff we have to learn by rote in school has no meaning until later on. I had to learn this too and never appreciated it until years later. Parrotting destroys content.

  10. I love your site. am not usually a follower of blogs. i happened upon it as I'm preparing a sculpture exhibition of stone sculpture for an exhibition I have on in april in dublin, ireland. You sound like you lead a blessed life in the wilds. i too am near the sea and it is my life. i wish we could respect her more, our lives depend upon it. best wishes from ireland

  11. Thanks anon and good luck with the exhibit!!



Comments are welcome. Anonymous comments will be deleted unread.

Email me at wisewebwomanatgmaildotcom if you're having trouble.