Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

A Port Forsaken - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

She sent her five fighting ships once on a day
To meet the bold Spaniard in battle array:
And a King's son brought to her in days that are done
His beauty that perished, his dream of a throne.

She had ships once in plenty from all the seven seas
That crowded her harbour and thronged her quays,
Brown barques from the Baltic all battered with gales,
And brigs from Bilbao and schooners from Wales.

Oh, 'twas then she had traffic that stuffed her sheds full
With ropes out of Bridport and Westcountry wool,
With granite from Cornwall and seacoal from Tyne,
And rum from the Indies and Portingal wine.

Her merchants they flourished, her pilots did thrive,
Her sail lofts and rigging lofts hummed like a hive:
There was singing o' nights at the 'Ship' and the 'Crown,'
And a sailor apiece for the girls in the town.

But now 'tis all ended and nothing comes near
But the steamers in summer a few times a year:
A sail on the sea-line, a smudge on the sky,
She sees the ships pass her and never come nigh.

The quays are deserted, the sail lofts are bare,
The spiders spin cables where hempen rope were,
And the wind through the wharf sheds goes singing alone
His dismal old ditty of days that are done.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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