Day 271 Mile 271: I Must go Down to the Seas Again #NationalPoetryDay. As the title might have suggested, today is National Poetry Day. Living in a land of bards and oral history, combined with working in a seat of learning it seemed only appropriate to mark this day somehow. Rattling around the university, there was a plethora of inspiration; ranging from texts in books or stone engravings, through to places where the great and good of the past had studied and written.
While attempting to think about how I could turn these disparate concepts into some sort of route through the landscape for today’s run (which would not involve charging headlong through the main arts library) my mind took ‘one of those’ leaps.
Sea Fever was written by John Masefield in 1926. I can remember sitting on the green bobbly carpet of my bedroom floor as a child, reading it out of a small red hardback book. For me the poem evoked so much mystery and excitement; the wild of the natural world, a dangerous sort of freedom which would none the less always work out well in the end, and all helped along by a slight hint of Treasure Island mixed with a romantic idea of piracy.
When my Mum told me that it was one of her best loved poems, and that it had been the favorite of her father who died before I was born, I was sold. Not only had I found between the beige-ing pages a portal to another world, but in my mind the poem (far more so than simply the physical text) became something of a talisman, a family heirloom. Here was an object that when you opened the pages could whisk you somewhere in an instant and yet even when the cover remained shut you knew it was there, a link going back through time and generations which I was only the most recent custodian of.
Hence rather than ossify the written word, by jogging from a library to a dead poet’s house I realized the impact that poems can have on the imagination and the way that some arrangements of letters on a page can have a far deeper meaning and effect on our lives.
So I left work and ran to the sea…
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.
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1746.6 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support!