Cicely Fox Smith

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

Second Mate - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Two-and-twenty, taut and trim,
Likes the girls and the girls like him:
All the same, a fighting man,
Game to scrap whenever he can.

He's a white man through and through,
Sort of a bloke to have with you
When you're up to the neck in a Dago dive
All of a buzz like an angry hive;
Sort of a chap to have at your back
When things look ugly and bad and black
And you're taking an odds-on chance of dying
In a Rio alley when knives are flying;
Sort of a feller to have at your shoulder
Off o' the Horn when nights get colder,
When you're fighting down the bunt of a sail
On a slippery yard in a thundering gale.

For whatever the job in hand may be,
A rough house in port or rough weather at sea,
A cyclone afloat or a shindy ashore,
The tighter the place is he like it the more.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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