I've just been re-reading my all-time favourite Masefield poem, Cargoes, The visual imagery he paints is magnificent, and I thought I'd like to share it.
There are only three stanzas. Here's the first, in an unhurried pulling stroke and painted in yellows and golds and ochres --
Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, anf sweet whitre wine.
And then the pure romance of the tropics in the second stanza. The long gentle ocean swell, perfectly matched by the lilting rhythm of the words he chooses, and the almost over-powering sense of jade-green and aquamarine water sparkling under a tropical sun --
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Topazes, cinnamon, and gold moidores.
And then finally -- crunch -- straight into an equnoctial gale in the English Channel, all greys and deep deep blues, flecked with white. Note his use of short staccato words to emphasise the motion of the boat and the everyday utility of her cargo by comparison with that of the galleon in the second stanza --
Dirty British coaster with a salt-stained smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.
Magic, pure magic.