Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sea Fever

I was just sitting here, working on a public policy edit, listening to iTunes, essentially minding my own business, when Kris Delmhorst's song Sea Fever came through my ear buds. I've always liked the song, ever since hearing in an NPR interview about how she took poems and set them to music. But I'd never paid full attention to the lyrics of this song, until today.

I looked up the original poem by John Masefield and hummed along to Delmhorst's haunting voice, and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face. I realized that as I listened, I was composing a eulogy for my dad in my head.

My dad who is very much alive and kicking.

Sorry, Dad. I don't mean to kick you off this mortal coil before your time!

Apparently I have a seriously morbid twist in my brain. It reminds of when I first heard Death Cab for Cutie's I Will Follow You Into the Dark. After bawling my eyes out in the car, I decided that song should be played in honor of Mark and me when we die. (In this morbid fantasy, I guess Mark and I perish together ... I hope at least it is while doing something exciting and fun.)

Is this a normal thing for people to do? To envision their funerals or the funerals of those they love? I don't know. It is sad to think about, but also weirdly therapeutic, or at least for me. A good cry over something that is inevitable but not happening right now (as opposed to a big cry over something devastating as it is happening) seems to clean out the works for me. Kind of like purging or the toxins that are supposedly released during yoga or something. I don't dwell on these thoughts all day, every day. They just pop into my head, usually prompted by music or literature or art or even a beautiful scene. Maybe it's just the reminder of life's brevity, how we really are a blip in this universe. It makes me sad but also makes me appreciate all we have ... all that I have.

In any case, I haven't written in ages. Maybe it's the change in weather. It's a gray, chilly day here in Boise. Or maybe I'm just really not interested in editing that policy paper right now and am taking any chance I can get to procrastinate (see: stopping work to look up lyrics to a song). But it feels good to write again, even if it is just today.

Sea Fever

By John Masefield 
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment