Cicely Fox Smith

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

Ship Models Vii “geordie Collier Brig” - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Here’s the likeness of the
Betsy
: sometime in the eighteen thirties
They built her in Newcastle where the coaly dust and dirt is.

She’d a “tumble-home” like a frigate, she was chubby as an apple;
Her old man was religious and he used to preach in chapel.

And when anything upset, such as contraries or calms
He’d often ease his feelings, like, with bits out of the Psalms.

The mate he hailed from Canny Shields, he went to sea in clogs;
He used to raise big gooseberries and little whippet dogs.

And for fighting and for drinking and for courting lassies plenty
You’d hardly find another one to match him out of twenty.

They’d neither of ‘em sextants, for they ne'r learned the trick of it;
They shut their eyes and chanced their luck and barged into the thick of it.

And, call it luck or what you like, there isn’t any doubt of it
That when they made their landfall they were mostly not far out of it.

Well, the years they kept on going and the preaching skipper died,
And the mate died, and his gooseberries and running dogs besides;

And still the stout old
Betsy
plodded on the same old track
From the Wooden Dolly landing down to Wapping Wall and back.

But she did it once too often, for one night in late October,
With a north-east gale a-blowing and the skipper not quite sober,

He put her on the Middens ‘cos he saw the shore lights double,
And she smashed herself to smithereens to save the breakers trouble.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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