Wise Words from a Poet Who Shares Our "Needs"

August 15, 2008

We know many a water-obsessed preschooler (and parent) who has just this set of "musts" and "all I asks" -- don't you? 

Wherever the tides take your tall ship, here's wishing you fun with that laughing fellow-rover and, well, exactly what the last line says....

by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and 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 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.

From Caroline Kennedy's excellent poetry collections from her mother's favorites, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, as well as her own favorites for children, A Family of Poems

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    I enjoyed the rhythm of this poem. I know it's great to read poetry to young children to learn the language.

    over a year ago


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