In "Sea Fever," where does the poet go and why?

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The speaker begins each of the three stanzas with a refrain (refrain is the repetition of words, phrases, or even entire lines, generally as part of a pattern): "I must go down to the seas again [...]." He clearly longs to return to the ocean, to a life on the ocean; "And all [he] ask[s]" for is a masted ship, a star to guide him, a windy day, and a good tale from a fellow traveler. He seems to long for solitude in the first stanza, yearning for "the lonely sea and the sky," but then, in the final stanza, he wishes for a "laughing fellow-rover" to travel with. He seems to long for the excitement of travel and the mist in his face, the beauty of the dawn breaking over the water, the life of a wanderer, and a good night's sleep with peaceful dreams, when he comes to the end. For him, the "running tide / Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied." He must go because he cannot ignore the call of the sea.

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This excellent and memorable poem is all about the intense desire of the speaker to return to the sea, which obviously is very important to his identity and life. From the very first line of this poem, the longing that the speaker has to return to the sea speaks of the "Sea Fever" of the title, and the way that his love of the sea is an obsession for him, that makes it impossible for him to live inland for too much time:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky...

His longing to sail out and live the "vagrant gyspy life" by himself with nothing but a ship and the various animals and birds that are found on the sea are expressed throughout the poem, which could be described as a love poem about one man's desire and intense connection with the sea and the kind of life that a sailor can lead. The speaker is obviously unsatisfied with his life on shore, and finds something irresistably attractive and romantic about the life of a sailor. Note how it is described:

To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife...

The beauty, thrill and excitement that is evoked in such lines makes it clear how attractive the sea is to the speaker and why he wishes to return there.

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