Cicely Fox Smith

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

Poor Old Ship (Regent's Canal Dock) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Her rigging it was once of the best a man could find;
With canvas of the stoutest her lockers they were lined;
But now from truck to keelson she's stinted shamefully,
For want of tar and seizing, a sight she is to see -
Poor old ship!

Her planking was like snow and her brasses they did shine,
Likewise with sand and canvas they kept her bulwarks fine,
But now her seams are gaping, her brass a fair disgrace,
And her teak is daubed and plastered like a painted woman's face -
Poor old ship!

Her freights were mostly clean ones, her charters they were good,
She picked them and she chose them and went just where she would,
But those good times are over and she has had her day,
And firewood and scrap-iron are all that come her way -
Poor old ship!

She had shellbacks four-and-twenty that hauled and reefed and furled,
And shantied up her mud-hook and worked her round the world,
But now a scant half-dozen are all the chaps she's got,
And hardly one's a seaman in all the blinkin' lot -
Poor old ship!

She's sailed the round world over here and there and everywhere,
She's served her masters faithfully in weather foul and fair,
And now her old age is on her it's a shame to see her so;
She's nothing left to live for; to the breaker let her go -
Poor old ship!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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