On This Day – John Masefield – Poet Laureate, died in 1967.

John Masefield gave a reading of his poems in the Great Hall of Sydney University on 21 November 1934 and again the following day in the Sydney University Union Hall. In Sydney he was photographed with C.E.W Bean, the official Commonwealth War Historian.

Some of the wonders of Australia which amazed him included the miles of giant gums, great open plains, shearing sheds and 'charming people' but perhaps 'the thing that lingers so lovingly in his heart is the song of the magpie', 'the very soul of the Australian scene'.

An etching of John Masefield was done by artist Norma Bull who met him during his time in Melbourne in 1934. He was ‘much impressed with her art’.

In Adelaide for just a day he was asked by a woman for a memento. Offering an autograph, she asked for something else. He drew her a ship, in a lightning sketch, and signed it.

from Sea Fever

by John Masefield

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

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

©Jeff Guess 2017

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