Cicely Fox Smith

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

Light Cruisers (Old) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

When you've marshalled your navies and gloried your fill
In the latest they show of invention and skill,
The lion in strength and the lizard in speed,
The watchful in waiting, the present in need -
The great Super-Dreadnaughts gigantic and grim,
The thirty-knot cruisers both subtle and slim,
The weight and the range of each wonderful gun -

Remember the cruisers, the out-of-date cruisers,
The creaky old cruisers whose day is not done,
Built some time before Nineteen Hundred and One!

You may look to the South, you may seek in the North,
You may search from the Falklands as far as the Forth,
From Pole unto Pole all the oceans between,
Patrolling, protecting, unwearied, unseen,
By night or by noonday the Navy is there,
And out-of-date cruisers are doing their share!
Yes, anywhere, everywhere under the sun -

You will find an old cruiser, an off-the-map cruiser,
An out-of-date cruiser whose work's never done,
Built some time before Nineteen Hundred and One!

It may be you'll meet with her lending a hand
In clearing the way for the soldiers to land,
Escorting an army, and feeding it too,
Or sinking a raider (and saving her crew);
Blockading by sea or attacking by dry land,
Bombarding a coast or annexing an island,
Where there's death to be daring or risk to be run -

You may look for the cruiser, the out-of-date cruiser,
The creaky old cruiser that harries the Hun,
Built some time before Nineteen Hundred and One!

In wild night of winter when warmly you sleep,
She is plugging her way through the dark and the deep,
With Death in the billows which endless do roll,
And the wind blowing cold with the kiss of the Pole;
While seas slopping over both frequent and green,
Call forth on occasion expressions of spleen,
Of all the old kettles awarding the Bun -

To the out-of-date cruiser, the obsolete cruiser,
The creaky old cruiser whose work's never done.
Built some time before Nineteen Hundred and One!

And when the day breaks for whose smoke-trail afar
We scan the grey waters by sunlight and star,
The day of great glory - the splendour, the gloom,
The lightning, the thunder, the judgment, the doom,
The breaking of navies, the shaking of kings,
When the Angel of Battle makes night with his wings,
Oh, somewhere, be sure, in the thick o' the fun -

You will find an old cruiser, a gallant old cruiser,
A creaky old cruiser whose day is not done,
Built some time before Nineteen Hundred and One!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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