Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

Sailor, Sailor —


“Sailor, Sailor, why did you go -
Why did you go for a sailor?
Why didn’t you choose to cobble folk’s shoes,
Or live at your ease as a tailor?”
“I stayed out all night at Michaelmas fair
And blowed my week’s wages on the roundabouts there,
And I knew my old dad ‘ud be waiting for me
With a face like a foot and his belt on his knee,
And I thinks, thinks I, ’Well it can’t be as bad
To run off to sea as be belted by Dad’ -
And that’s why I went for a sailor - a sailor -
That’s why I went for a sailor.”

“Sailor, Sailor, why did you go -
Why did you go for a sailor?
Why didn’t you learn good money to earn
As a beer or a whisky retailer?”
“I wheeled a wheelbarrow when I was a boy
In and out o’ the cowshed where I got employ;
I wheeled it and wheeled it from morning to night,
And sometimes ‘twas heavy and sometimes ‘twas light;
I wheeled it six months and I’m willing to bet
That if I’d stayed there I’d be wheeling it yet -
And that’s why I went for a sailor.”

“Sailor, Sailor, why did you go -
Why did you go for a sailor?
Why aren’t you a star of Bench or of Bar
A judge, a K.C., or a jailor?”
“I courted a girl and she gave me the chuck;
I thought my poor heart was most certainly bruk;
So I went to the docks, for I thought it was better
To travel the world round and try to forget her.
We were bound out to Sidney, and - well, to be candid
I was courting another as soon as we landed -
But that’s why I went for a sailor.”

“Sailor, Sailor, why did you go -
Why did you go for a sailor?'
“Why does the earth keep on turning around?
Why do the trees have their roots underground?
Why does the sun rise - and what makes it set?
Why is the snow cold, and why is the rain wet?
Why do the rivers run down to the sea?
Answer me these things - and after ask me
To tell why I went for a sailor - a sailor -
The reason I went for a sailor.'

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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