What passages in the poem "The Seafarer" explain why the speaker seeks the rigors of the sea rather than the delights of the land?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The speaker of the poem longs for the sea...it is his heart, his soul, his very being.  No matter how much he may want to settle down and enjoy the warm comforts of land, food, drink, and female companionship, his inner being seeks the open sea.

I put myself back on the paths of the sea.

No matter how cold and uncomfortable the sea sometimes may be, he continues to return.

how my heart
Would begin to beat, knowing once more
The salt waves tossing and the towering sea!
The time for journeys would come and my soul
Called me eagerly out, sent me over
The horizon, seeking foreigners' homes.

He only feels truly free and alive when on the waves seeking foreign lands and adventure.

Nothing, only the ocean's heave;
But longing wraps itself around him.

Even when on land, safe from harm and enjoying many comforts, his heart longs for the the openness of the sea and the movement of the waves beneath him.

And yet my heart wanders away,
My soul roams with the sea, the whales'
Home, wandering to the widest corners
Of the world, returning ravenous with desire,
Flying solitary, screaming, exciting me
To the open ocean, breaking oaths
On the curve of a wave.

Despite solitude (or perhaps in need of it), despite being away from earthly comforts and loved ones, his soul roams with the sea creatures and excites a passion in him that has created so strong a bond that he is unable to willingly break it.  As long as he is able, he will sail.


 

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