Cargoes

Did you read yesterday’s blog.  Each of my sisters responded saying that among their favourites that we all learned at school, was Cargoes by John Masefield.  So may I share it with you here:

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield was an English poet and writer (1878-1967).  He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death he wrote stirring poetry meant to make the reader/listener proud of being British and of their heritage.

Probably Masefield’s most popular poem was Sea Fever.  You will no doubt know the opening stanza –

“I must 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.”

When we were at school we were lucky to have such a talented English teacher who instilled the love of poetry and literature in groups of young girls.  This, coupled with encouragement from our father, taught my sisters and me the beauty to be found in words.

So another rambling post to share with you my love of words, poetry whether stirring like those of Masefield, Brooke,Kipling, Frost et al or of the more modern poets like Jenny Joseph, Ted Hughes and of course another favourite Jayne Relaford Brown whose poem Finding her here  has been quoted several times in earlier blogs.

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6 responses to “Cargoes

  1. Down To The Sea In Ships
    Charles W. Mitchell

    I have gone down to the sea
    I have worked the ships
    I have seen the glory of the Lord
    I have quenched my lips.

    I have lived the life of a Mariner
    The world can be a united neighborhood
    I have defied the will of Lucifer
    Working the ships in an adventuresome good.

    I have been to many mountains
    I have been through the valley of the shadow of death
    I have sailed the seven seas
    The lifeline of ships is a manifestation of
    “Open Sesame” and God’s breath.

    I have gone down to the sea
    I did see the sky
    The Lord is my Captain
    The Lord does glorify.

    As ships that pass in the night
    I have met the twain
    I did go down to the sea
    I would do it yet again.

  2. We used to sing “Cargoes” in our school choir – had fun with the last verse, which we sang pretty well staccato, bobbing about to imitate the dirty British coaster. Thanks for the memory!

  3. Sea Fever has always been one of my favorite poems. I love poems with a sea theme. I also love “Crossing the Bar” by Tennyson.

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