Cicely Fox Smith

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

Cape Stiff - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Cruel is the sea, and the hardest thing of all
Is her taking and her leaving, and the way it seems to fall,
How always it's the best men who have to hear the call -
Ah, Cape Stiff, and the big seas pouring!

And of all good sailormen that use the deep sea
Where would you find a better or a truer lad than he
That we lost in the dirty weather from the four-mast barque
By Cape Stiff, and the great gale roaring?

It was all hands on deck that night, to heave her to;
The sails were frozen hard, the cold wind bit you through,
You couldn't hear a man beside you speak, so loud it blew,
Near Cape Stiff, and her yards dipping under!

The night was black as hell - never saw him go…
It wasn't till the dawn broke I'd time to ask and know
The sea that swept us out and back had rolled him far below,
By Cape Stiff, in the great seas' thunder.

And fair weather or foul weather it's all one to him,
Though the sea's in the half-deck and the empty bunk aswim,
It's a long watch below for weary head and aching limb,
By Cape Stiff, and the loud wind crying!

And now we're rolling home before the good Trade Wind,
But I'm thinking night and day how we've left him far behind…
Him that was so merry, him that was so kind,
By Cape Stiff, in the cold deeps lying!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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