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The Seafarer March 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — charlottepierce13 @ 5:13 pm

This poem uses a great deal of figurative language, but all readily understandable and evocative.  The movement of the sea matches the ups and downs the seafarer experiences, swept back and forth just like his emotions shift from sorrow to fear to pain.  The use of personification can sometimes be far fetched but in this case, each use is subtle because it is so well paired.  For example, hailstorms flew, roaring sea, and storms beat on the rocky cliffs, are all easily imagined because the sea can be violent and embodies all of these life/human inferred verbs.  All aspects of the sea are described because this is what the seafarer knows best.  When you are only surrounded by water, the sky, and few animals, each one becomes an obsession, key in describing the environment.  He uses the sea as a portal to his life and psyche.  He uses cold, dark, and windy words which can all describe the sea, especially when one is stranded there and nostalgic.  When  I read this, I felt a need to read it slowly, not quite peacefully, but like the movement of a calm sea, a body/voice stiffened by the cold.  As suggested in class, I agree with the second half being a whole different poem because it is completely opposes every aspect of the previous half.  It is full of life, discussing growth and God/heaven.  There are still hints of helplessness but the recurring theme of God holds a more optimistic tone and message.  Overall, I think the seafarer is undergoing the classic confusion of thoughts and feelings.  He feels an extra strong tie to the sea but can’t deny his longing for land as well.  He begins with the harshness of sea life but then how it excites him-“my heart would begin to beat”, “there isn’t a man on earth so proud.”  He also longs for the life that blooms on land, the idea of a town.  The poem concludes sermon like, emphasizing the power of God and how to live-“death leaps at the fools who forget their God.”  Everyone has regrets, second thoughts, fears, especially when you are stranded in the middle of the sea, but mostly, the seafarer has pride and I think his final transition to discussing God proves that he feels supported and finally confident that he is “rising to that eternal joy.”


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