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The sea and sailing are common subjects and metaphors in poetry. There are meny well-known descriptive poems, as well as many narrative stories. While I have spent less time than most people messing about in boats, they still hold a certain fascination, and there is certainly a great deal about sailing and the sea to write about. To quote my favorite fictional philsopher:
"A sailboat is a vehicle, not of transport, but of mindset. It is a relationship, and a place, and a thing (sometimes a personified thing) that takes us from one state of mind to another. It can
bind two souls together in ways they cannot conceive of until afterwards. Its journeys are as much about inner discovery, as they are about distance traveled."
--Tal Yeka, American Philosopher (22nd Century CE)
Some poems, like Masefield's Sea Fever are very catchy in their rhythm and phrasing, although I will comment that nearly everyone tries to correct Masefield's first line. If you like stories, some of Masefield's longer poems make good reading, including The Wanderer and Dauber.
- Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
A dark love poem about the sea, mankind, and futile history
- To Sea! To Sea by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
The anchor heaves, the ship swings free,
The sails swell full. To sea, to sea!
- Lassitude by Mathilde Blind
The sea can be hypnotic at times
- The Evening Darkens Over by Robert Bridges
One of my personal favorites - a storm over the ocean at sunset
- Ye Mariners of England by Thomas Campbell
Her march is o'er the mountain-waves,
Her home is on the deep.
- A Nautical Ballad by Charles Edward Carryl
A story about a most unusual sailing ship
- Ye Flags of Picadilly by Arthur Hugh Clough
Sometimes, you should have just stayed home
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
One of the ultimate yarns about the sea.
- A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea by Allan Cunningham
- The Pleasure Boat by Richard Henry Dana
Take a jaunt on the sea and find.....beauty.
- The Sailor's Consolation by Charles Dibdin
Perhaps the sea is not so dangerous after all?
- I started Early by Emily Dickinson
But no Man moved Me--till the Tide .
Went past my simple Shoe--
- The Convergence of the Twain by Thomas Hardy
Written in memory of The Titanic.
- Long island Sound by Emma Lazarus
pastoral description that may be a bit out of place now.
- The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Be cautious, not proud, in dealing with the sea.
- The Sound of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
...foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.
- The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands
- Sea Fever by John Masefield
The classic poem of longing for the sea.
- Trade Winds by John Masefield
- Cargoes by John Masefield
Seafaring has lost its romance.
- The Berg by Herman Melville
an indifferent iceberg.
- Columbus by Joaquin Miller
He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"
- Sailors for my Money by Martin Parker
Give ear unto the sailor
Who unto you will show
His case, his case,
Howe'er the wind doth blow.
- A Life on the Ocean Wave by Epes Sargent
- Full Fathom Five by William Shakespeare
from The Tempest.
- The Lifeboat by George R. Sims
We launched the boat in the tempest, though death was the goal in view
And never a one but doubted if the craft could live it through;
- Phantoms All by Harrient Prescott Spofford
- Before the Squall by Arthur Symons
- Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Sailing as a metaphor for life (and death)
- Break, Break, Break by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- On the Verge by William Winter
Ah, God receive, on shores of light,
The shattered ship that sails to-night!
- With ships the sea was sprinkled by William Wordsworth
one proud vessel outshines all the others; where is She going?