Cicely Fox Smith

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

Shipmate Sorrow - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

I was shipmates with Sorrow in a day gone by;
We shared the wheel and look-out, old Sorrow and I:
Good times and bad times, foul weather and fair,
The old grey face of him was always there.

There was never shanty raised there, never song I heard,
But his voice would be in it like a crying bird;
I was dull in the dog watches when the laugh went free
Because of old Sorrow sitting down by me.

I thought I could lose him in the stir and change
Of bright wicked cities all sunlit and strange;
There came a hand at my elbow and a voice in my ear -
It was patient Sorrow saying: 'Lad, I'm here!'

And by the bustling harbour, up the busy street,
Many a time I see him, many a time I meet
The old grey face there of one I used to know . . .
And it's old shipmate Sorrow out of long ago.

And the watch at the halliards, they may sing with a will,
But the voice I used to hear, oh I think I hear it still,
Like the wind in a shroud piping, or a seabird's cry . . .
And it's old Sorrow singing out of times gone by!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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