Cicely Fox Smith

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

Follow The Sea - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'What is it makes a man follow the sea?
Ask me another!' says Billy Magee:
'Maybe it's liquor and maybe it's love -
Maybe it's likin' to be on the move -
Maybe the salt drop that runs in his blood
Won't let his killick lie snug in the mud:
What is it makes such poor idjits as me
Follow the sea -follow the sea? . . .
Jiggered if I know!' says Billy Magee.

'What is it keeps a chap rollin' around
All his life long from the Skaw to the Sound?
Samplin' the weathers from Hull to Rangoon -
Doldrums an' westerlies, Trade an' typhoon -
Hurricane, cyclone an' southerly buster -
In any old drogher as flies the Red Duster?
What is it makes a chap follow the sea -
Follow the sea - follow the sea -
Bust me if I know!' says Billy Magee.

'What is it makes a man stick to the sea?
Ah, you may ask me!' says Billy Magee.
'Stick to it hungry and stick to it cold,
Stick to it after he's broken and old,
Freeze in the Forties an' sweat on the Line,
Shiver an' burn in the rain an' the shine,
Stick it until he can't stick it no more -
Curse it an' leave it for something ashore -
Chuck up his shore job an' follow the sea -
Stick to an' live by an' die by the sea -
Search me if I know!' says Billy Magee.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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