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Thalassa February 28, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in Art.

Said the one who gave me this poem “My God I’m moved every time I read it!” Truly, it’s a great poem by an Irish poet, and echoes my attitude quite well at this point.

Thalassa by Louis MacNeice

Run out the boat, my broken comrades;
Let the old seaweed crack, the surge
Burgeon oblivious of the last
Embarkation of feckless men,
Let every adverse force converge--
Here we must needs embark again.

Run up the sail, my heartsick comrades;
Let each horizon tilt and lurch--
You know the worst: your wills are fickle,
Your values blurred, your hearts impure
And your past life a ruined church--
But let your poison be your cure.

Put out to sea, ignoble comrades,
Whose record shall be noble yet;
Butting through scarps of moving marble
The narwhal dares us to be free;
By a high star our course is set,
Our end is Life. Put out to sea.


1. Jackie - February 28, 2006

That is a moving poem. I’m a sucker for poems and stories about the sea and sailing. Growing up on an island, I grew up on boats as well. My dad was a fisherman as a young man, 2 of my nephews and my son are all fisherman. When my twin brother died at the age of 37, my dad read a sailor’s poem at his memorial – which for the life of me, I can’t recall the author or title. I have to dig through my mementos to find it. But your post brought a tear to my eye, and a lump to my throat. Ahhh…the Irish poets!

2. Greg - March 1, 2006

Ohhh … losing your brother must have been beyond what words can express! Sorry to hear that!

This is a great poem alright. Glad you got caught up in it! I sometimes wonder if reading poetry on a computer monitor in any way detracts from the impact, while holding a page or book before ones’ eyes might create a more personal bond.

Certainly looking at art online is diminished quite a bit. Words not so much, but poetry is kinda in the middle somewhere…

3. Marsha - March 1, 2006

it is a nice poem.

4. Jackie - March 6, 2006

Greg: thank you. I was actually anticipating that my brother would die a violent death, as he led an alternative lifestyle for most of his adult life, as a biker. I think for me, my brother had died years before, when the alchol and drugs had claimed his personality, and turned him into a violent, addle-brained shell of himself. Any how, when I read the poem in your blog, I could hear my dad reading “The Seafarer” by a British poet.

5. whatacharacter - March 7, 2006

Marsha – glad you liked it, however \”nice\” doesn\’t exactly ring as a true adjective to me. Still, thanks for reading! 🙂

Jackie – I can relate just to certain degree, as we lost a very cool brother in law to a motocycle accident. He too followed his own path, but at 25 was still blissfully free from such broken relationships. Still loss is loss, and it\’s always good to honor the memory of their true spirit, I believe.

6. Anonymous - December 24, 2008

It’s a beautiful poem, but its not really about the sailing or the sea you know. It’s more of a metaphor for macneice’s probems with alcohol

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