Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Boats Of The Albacore - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'Five boats there was,' says Bristol Tim, 'in the steamship
Albacore
-
She used to sail on the Far East run 'tween Hull an' Singapore -
Four under davits an' one on chocks, you couldn't ask no more.'

'But one was smashed at the davits, an' the same shell killed 'er crew,
An' one got tangled up in the falls an' stove, an' that was two,
An' the one as was lashed went down with the ship, she couldn't 'elp but do.'

'There was nine got clear in the captain's boat, but we missed 'em by an' by,
For there wasn't a light in the whole black night, nor a star in the bloomin' sky,
An' the Lord He knows where them chaps went, an' the sea as saw them die.'

'An' seven men in the quarter boat there was as went away,
Seven men in an open boat a-driftin' around the Bay,
In the rain an' wind that bit to the bone an' freezin' dollops o' spray.'

'Seven men in an open boat with neither oars nor sail -
We done our best with a len'th o' spar an' a rag of an old shirt-tail,
An' we took it in turns to watch, an' steer, an' sleep a bit, an' bale . . .

'Seven men in an open boat, an' the fifth day dawnin' red -
When a drifter picked 'er up at last due South o' Lizard 'ead,
Seven men in an open boat, two livin' an' five dead.'

'An' the two that was livin' they 'd signed again afore a month was through,
They'd signed an' sailed for to take their chance as a seaman's bound to do;
An' one went West when the
Runnymede
was mined with all 'er crew . . .
'An' God 'elp Fritz when we meet,' says Tim, for I was one o' the two!'


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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