Cicely Fox Smith
Chips - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Learned his trade in the Blackwall ships,
Learned it from A to Z,
From rudder trunk to foc's'le head.
Square and hard as a baulk of teak
Or the quid he stows in his starboard cheek,
He rules his life by Blackwall fashion,
Work's his pleasure and his passion.
If you took and shoved old Chips ashore
With just his adze and nothing more,
He's make no raft of skins, not he,
Nor botched-up job of a scooped-out tree:
He'd start right in and fix a slip,
And lay his keel, and build his ship,
And rig up sheers for masts and all,
The blooming same as old Blackwall:
And last he'd finish her off with lots
Of fancy twiddles and ropes and knots
And flowers and flourishes worked in wood
As large as life and twice as good.
A makeshift job, be it large or small,
Is a thing he can't abide at all,
For he learned his trade in the Blackwall ships,
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