Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

The North Sea Ground Poem by Cicely Fox Smith


Oh, Grimsby is a pleasant town as any man may find,
An' Grimsby wives are thrifty wives, an' Grimsby girls are kind;
An' Grimsby lads have never yet been lads to lag behind
When there's men's work doin' on the North Sea ground.

An' it's 'Wake up, Johnnie' . . . for the high tide's flowin',
An' off the misty waters a cold wind blowin';
Skipper's come aboard, an' it's time that we were goin',
An' there's fine fish waitin' on the North Sea ground!

Soles in the Silver Pit . . . an' there we'll let 'em lie!
Cod on the Dogger . . . oh, we'll fetch 'em by an' by!
War on the waters . . . an' it's time to serve an' die,
For there's wild work doin' on the North Sea ground.

An' it's 'Wake up, Johnnie' . . . they want you at the trawlin'
(With your long sea-boots an' your tarry old tarpaulin);
All across the bitter seas duty comes a-callin',
In the winter's weather off the North Sea ground.

It's well we've learned to laugh at fear (the sea has taught us how);
It's well we've shaken hands with death - we'll not be strangers now,
With death in every climbin' wave before the trawler's bow,
And the black spawn swimmin' on the North Sea ground.

Good luck to all the fightin' ships that rule the English sea;
Good luck to our brave merchantmen wherever they may be;
The sea it is a highway, and we've got to sweep it free
For the ships passin' over on the North Sea ground.

An' it's 'Wake up, Johnnie' . . . for the sea wind's cryin',
'Time an' time to go where the herrin' gulls are flyin'' -
An' down below the stormy seas the dead men lyin'
Oh, the dead lyin' quiet on the North Sea ground!

Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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