Cicely Fox Smith

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

Mother Carey - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

As late I went a-walking by the sea,
I thought I heard men talking, I heard them call to me:
'Oh, sorrow take the city streets and the weary city stones,
It's time for you to leave them while the strength is in your bones.'

Ah, shake and wake her, Johnnie, there's the ship for you,
Lying in the Royal Roads waiting for her crew,
And every brace and backstay is singing soft and low,
'Mother Carey wants you and you're all bound to go!'

As late I went a-strolling by the shore,
And thought of ports I'd like to see I haven't seen before,
Across the Strait the lighthouse kept winking fine and free
To show me where the road is that leads to open sea.

Ah, shake and wake her, Johnnie, yonder where she rides,
Lying in the Royal Roads swinging with the tides,
Singing with the muttering tides that past her cables flow,
'Mother Carey wants you and you're all bound to go!'

As late I went a-walking, a-walking by the tide,
I thought my love was with me and walking by my side;
So kind she did reproach me, so sweet her eyes did shine,
Yet could not hold beside her this restless heart of mine.

Ah, shake and wake her, Johnnie! . . . don't you hear them calling
Out across the Royal Roads and the dusk a-falling!
Time and time for me to leave you though I love you so;
'Mother Carey wants us and we're all bound to go!'

All bound to go, Johnnie, all bound to go,
If it's late or early, lad, if you will or no,
Sure as sun will rise, Johnnie, sure as tides do flow,
When Mother Carey wants us we're all bound to go.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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