A Poem for International Day of the Seafarer

The Day of the Seafarer was first celebrated on June 25, 2011, following a resolution to establish it by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010. It is now included on the list of annual United Nations Observances as the International Day of the Seafarer.

Epes Sargent (1813-1880) American editor, poet, and playwright. He was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where his father was a ship master. He began attending the Boston Latin School, but left for six months to travel to Saint Petersburg, Russia, with his father. On his return, he helped start the school’s literary journal, which published his writings about his journey to Russia. In 1829, he graduated, and went to Harvard University, where he contributed to the Harvard Collegian. By 1831, he was an editor for the Boston Daily Advertiser, then was hired by the Boston Daily Atlas as their Washington correspondent. Sargent’s first play, The Bride of Genoa, premiered at Boston’s Tremont Theatre in February, 1837. He also wrote the poem, A Life on the Ocean Wave, which his friend Henry Russell set to music. It became the regimental marching tune for the British Royal Marines in 1882.

To read Epes Sargent’s “A Life on the Ocean Wave” click:

A Life on the Ocean Wave

by Epes Sargent

A life on the ocean wave,
A home on the rolling deep,
Where the scattered waters rave,
And the winds their revels keep!
Like an eagle caged, I pine
On this dull, unchanging shore:
Oh! give me the flashing brine,
The spray and the tempest’s roar!

Once more on the deck I stand
Of my own swift-gliding craft:
Set sail! farewell to the land!
The gale follows fair abaft.
We shoot through the sparkling foam
Like an ocean-bird set free;—
Like the ocean-bird, our home
We’ll find far out on the sea.

The land is no longer in view,
The clouds have begun to frown;
But with a stout vessel and crew,
We’ll say, Let the storm come down!
And the song of our hearts shall be,
While the winds and the waters rave,
A home on the rolling sea!
A life on the ocean wave!

“A Life on the Ocean Wave” from Songs of the Sea, with Other Poems, by Epres Sargent – HardPress Publishing, 2017 edition

Visual: ‘Wawona’ by Thomas Wells

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Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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