Katherine Mansfield

(14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923 / Wellington)

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A Little Boy's Dream


To and fro, to and fro
In my little boat I go
Sailing far across the sea
All alone, just little me.
And the sea is big and strong
And the journey very long.
To and fro, to and fro
In my little boat I go.

Sea and sky, sea and sky,
Quietly on the deck I lie,
Having just a little rest.
I have really done my best
In an awful pirate fight,
But we cdaptured them all right.
Sea and sky, sea and sky,
Quietly on the deck I lie--

Far away, far away
From my home and from my play,
On a journey without end
Only with the sea for friend
And the fishes in the sea.
But they swim away from me
Far away, far away
From my home and from my play.

Then he cried "O Mother dear."
And he woke and sat upright,
They were in the rocking chair,
Mother's arms around him--tight.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: journey, sea, sky, mother, home, friend, alone, dream, fish, fishing, swimming

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  • blank blank (10/24/2012 6:19:00 PM)

    well the poem is supposed to be a dream, a childs dream of winning a pirate fight, and journeying alone in the sea. It feels to me that he has achieved a victory against an enemy; whatever it was that he was fighting against. Instead of a dream it could be a fantastic illustration of a lonely child, fighting his own battles and winning them all alone because even the fish swim away from him. A child maturing earlier than he should becausr of lifes troubles, 'away from home and from play, only the sea as a friend'
    just a thought, of course (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/23/2012 6:01:00 PM)

    It's interesting that blank blank doers not like the last stanza, but can he say why he does not like i? . The whole point of the poem is that it IS a dream from which the boy wakes up. (Report) Reply

  • blank blank (10/23/2012 4:05:00 PM)

    i think i'd like it better without the last stanza.
    maybe it shouldnt have been a dream.
    its beautiful and then the last stanza ruins it. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/23/2012 12:58:00 PM)

    An excellent creation of a child's dream world - it is the rocking chair we meet at the end which has evoked the dream of the sea, and the writer's rhythm. I liked the sense towards the end of the dream becoming rather frightening. I wonder why the poet gave the dream to a boy - does It show the ability of the poet to create an accurate and intense atmosphere even though she might not have had an actual dream like this? (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai (10/23/2012 9:06:00 AM)

    i posted an identical poem with title paper boat. but this one is grand and sweet to with rhyme (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (10/23/2012 1:45:00 AM)

    Far away, far away
    From my home and from my play,
    On a journey without end...

    Lucid, easy to to communicate yet universal. Perhaps poetry resides such unknown zone, poet wants always to reach but only gets its flash in creation.........................Pranab k c (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (10/24/2009 4:52:00 PM)

    Landlubbers and party-poopers need not apply for passage on this little boy's wee vessel, hear me loud and clear! Life is a journey without end, lad, yet every day we go to and fro, back and forth all the livelong day!

    Chill, man, and let go for once! Must every poem you come across have one word or line or phrase that does not measure up to your ideal, your standard that not even a Shakespeare in his wildest dreams could achieve! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/24/2009 6:57:00 AM)

    I hate to be a party pooper, but 'to and fro' means back and forth.Why is this little boat going back and forth on a journey 'without end'? But it's a nice poem - encapsulating that wonderful period in life when one feels absolutely safe, and can dream deliciously of being unsafe. (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (10/23/2009 6:22:00 PM)

    And we all return home!
    As always, this is how children grow.
    Absolutely adorable - added to my favourite poems list! (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (10/23/2009 3:05:00 PM)

    A simple little poem suitable for children to read and enjoy and also using it learn to write poems! (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (10/23/2009 1:25:00 PM)

    This is an adorable little fantasy poem. I'm happy to have
    discovered this talented poet. '10! ' (Report) Reply

Read all 29 comments »

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