Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

A Dog's Life - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'Oh, a sailor's life's a dog's life, an' that's the truth,' says Bill,
'A sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you will;
You break your back with workin' for 'arf a coolie's pay,
An' a sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you may.'

'There's mates to kick an' 'aze you (an' you dursen't 'it 'em back);
There's cold to freeze your innards an' there's 'eat as burns you black;
There's junk as tough as green 'eart 'an weevils in the bread,
An' fistin' frozen canvas till you're wishin' you were dead.'

'But you bet I'm goin' to quit it, nex' time I jump ashore;
As soon as I strike ol' 'Frisco, you won't see me no more;
I'll set a course sou'westward to an island as I know,
Where we laid once loadin' copra - might be twenty year ago.'

'I'll lay out on the beach there, where the sun is good an' 'ot,
An' I won't need no more trousis, when I've wore out them I've got;
With a gunny round my middle, an' a soul to call my own
I wouldn't charge my fortune for the King's upon 'is throne.'

But when we'd finished loading and sailing day came round,
With the pilot boat alongside and the mudhook off the ground,
And the towboat cast the hawser off and left us with a cheer,
Why, there'd be Bill a-growling as he'd done for twenty year.

'Oh a sailor's life's a dog's life, an' that's a fact, my son;
'Is pay's no more'n a coolie's, 'is work is never done;
But you bet I'm goin' to quit it fust chance as comes my way,
For a sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you may.'


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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