"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"

The above quote is from John Masefield’s classic poem Sea-Fever which is the inspiration for the name of our firm, Sea-Fever Consulting LLC.

I believe that the sea is a strong and effective metaphor for business. Both present an ever changing environment and those that don’t adjust can find themselves far off course or worse.

Several times a week I will post leadership quotes that I find inspirational; many, but not all, will involve the sea. I hope that they help you think about your leadership in your life and work. I welcome you aboard and invite you into a leadership conversation to share any thoughts that you have about these Leading Words.

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Published by

Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

5 thoughts on “"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"”

  1. i believe that the original line without the Go word is the real thing. Down meaning that the poet means that he bows ie sort of genuflects to the sea.
    the verb down meaning this
    and also the tricks mentioned in the last line can relate not only to stints at the wheel of a ship or other duties on board but also in sailor parlance a trick can be termed as a sailors life
    ie his lifetime is a “trick”
    so can this promote a different understanding of the poem in that the poet is not only dreaming of his times at sea but moreso thinking of impending demise recalling his happy sea going experiences

  2. Richard, this is a very common misunderstanding. Here’s a link to a scan of Masefield’s Salt-Water Ballards in which Sea-Fever was published in 1913. As awkward as it may sound to us, the word “go” doesn’t appear in the first line.

    In any case, thanks for closely reading Sea-Fever (the blog and poem). I can definitely use your help with the many other typos that appear here regularly! ;-)

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