Cicely Fox Smith

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

Sailor Town - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Along the wharves in sailor town a singing whisper goes
Of the wind among the anchored ships, the wind that blows
Off a broad brimming water, where the summer day has died
Like a wounded whale a-sounding in the sunset tide.

There's a big China liner gleaming like a gull,
And her lit ports flashing; there's the long gaunt hull
Of a Blue-Funnel freighter with her derricks dark and still;
And a tall barque loading at the lumber mill.

And in the shops of sailor town is every kind of thing
That the sailormen buy there, or the ships' crews bring:
Shackles for a sea-chest and pink cockatoos,
Fifty-cent alarum clocks and dead men's shoes.

You can hear the gulls crying, and the cheerful noise
Of a concertina going, and a singer's voice -
And the wind's song and the tide's song, crooning soft and low
Rum old tunes in sailor town that seamen know.

I dreamed a dream in sailor town, a foolish dream and vain,
Of ships and men departed, of old days come again -
And an old song in sailor town, an old song to sing
When shipmate meets with shipmate in the evening.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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