”Sea Fever” is one of English poet John Masefield’s best-known works. Masefield employs many poetic devices in his lyric poem, effectively conveying the speaker’s wanderlust and love of the seafaring life. A seaman himself, Masefield relied on his own experience to create the vivid imagery of the poem. Figurative language, alliteration, regular rhyme, and even the sing-song rhythm help bring to life the experience of a sailor at sea. Young students of poetry will find this an accessible introduction to many of poetry’s most effective conventions.
Calling the surface of the water a "face" suggests that the sailor has a personal relationship with the sea. Just as we can tell a person's emotions by looking at their face, the sailor can read the mood of the sea by looking at it.
The tide is personified when it seems to call out to the sailor. This reinforces the idea that the sea has a mind and emotions of its own. It also suggests a kind of hypnotic power that the sea has over the sailor. To a certain degree, the sailor feels almost forced to go to sea.
The wind, like the sea, comes alive in this poem. It too is personified when it is said to be singing. The word "song" suggests a beautiful and melodious sound, emphasizing the sailor's positive experience of the sea.