Cicely Fox Smith

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

Billy's Yarn - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'Oo seen her off?' . . .
'Me,' says the tide,
'I 'ad to, for why, there was no one beside;
For sailor-folks' women, they're busy enough,
'Thout 'angin' round pier-'eds to see their chaps off.
The gulls all about 'er they wrangled an' cried,
An' I seen 'er off,' says the Liverpool tide.

'Oo waved 'er good-bye?' . . .
'Me said old Tuskar,
'When the sun it went down an' the light it got dusker,
(With a sea gettin' up an' the wind blowin' keen).
An' the smoke of 'er funnels could 'ardly be seen,
An' the last of the sunset was red in the sky . . .
With the first of my flashes I waved 'er good-bye.'

'Oo seen 'er sink?' . . .
'Me,' says the sun,
'At the top o' my climbin' I seen the thing done . . .
I seen 'er 'eave to, an' I seen 'er 'ull shiver,
Settle, an' stumble, an' tremble, an' quiver,
An' 'er stern it went up, an' 'er bow it went down,
An' the most of 'er people they just 'ad to drown,
An' I'd never a cloud for to shut out the sight,
So I seen 'er sink,' says the sun in 'is might.

'Oo seen the last of 'er?' . . .
'Us,' says the crew,
All that was left out o' twenty-and-two,
'We seen the last o' 'er - floatin' around
On a bottom-up boat among dead uns an' drowned -
We seen 'er waterways runnin' with blood -
We seen poor mates of ours shot where they stood -
But them chaps as done it, I tell you now true,
They ain't seen the last of us yet,' says the crew,
'No, you bet your sweet life,' says what's left o' the crew.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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