Rudyard Kipling

(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 / Bombay)

Frankie's Trade - Poem by Rudyard Kipling

Old Horn to All Atlantic said:
(A-hay O! To me O!)
"Now where did Frankie learn his trade?
For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'I."
(All round the Horn!)

Atlantic answered:--"Not from me!
You'd better ask the cold North Sea,
For he ran me down under all plain canvas."
(All round the Horn!)

The North Sea answered: -- "He's my man,
For he came to me when he began--
Frankie Drake in an open coaster.
(All round the Sands!)

"I caught him young and I used him sore,
So you never shall startle Frankie more,
Without capsizing Earth and her waters.
(All round the Sands!)

"I did not favour him at all.
I made him pull and I made him haul--
And stand his trick with the common sailors.
(All round the Sands!)

"I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind,
And kicked him home with his road to find
By what he could see in a three-day snowy-storm.
(All round the Sands!)

"I learned him his trade o' winter nights,
'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights,
On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing.
(All round the Sands!)

"Before his beard began to shoot,
I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot--
And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later.
(All round the Sands!)

"If there's a risk which you can make,
That's worse than he was used to take
Nigh every week in the way of his business;
(All round the Sands!)

"If there's a trick that you can try,
Which he hasn't met in time gone by,
Not once or twice, but ten times over;
(All round the Sands!)

"If you can teach him aught that's new,
(A-hay O! To me O!)
I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too,
And the ten tall churches that stand between
Storm along, my gallant Captains!
(All round the Horn!)

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Read poems about / on: sea, winter, home, running, water

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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