Cicely Fox Smith

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

The China Sea - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Did you see the poor old hooker, by the ocean wharf she lay?
Her decks are foul with harbour grime, she hasn't long to stay,
With her cargo all aboard her and the Peter flying free,
And a seagull on her foretop a-looking out to sea.

She's loaded up to the fairleads and down to the Plimsoll line,
Her bilges choked and her bulkheads sprung, and the pumps tied up with twine,
And it's fare you well, good comrades all, for aboard her we must be:
A call or two we've got to pay, a call or two upon the way,
From Liverpool to Frisco Bay,
And all across the China Sea.

Oh, think of us, if you will, you friends we leave at home,
A-listing like a log in the lone Atlantic foam;
Oh, think you of us now and then, ill-fitted and worse found,
A-hanging on the skirts of luck this weary world around.

They've changed her name and register, they'll never change her soul;
For rolling of her innards out and eating up of coal
There is no ship that sails the seas can far or near compare
With this weary worn old packet from the port of God knows where!

She'll drown us if she can, the jade, she's drowned her man before;
She'll fling her rusty bones and ours to roll 'tween shore and shore,
Or chartless on her drunken way go tumbling tide by tide
To trip the feet of merchantmen which use the oceans wide.

They rouse us not by night or day to spend our watch below
In getting leaky lifeboats out and teaching cooks to row;
And if the worst should come, why then let ship and all go down,
For we be only sailormen, and we are paid to drown.

Oh, turn you right and round about upon the English shore;
Oh, look you long on England, lads, you may not see her more;
And when we're out of soundings and the Biscay gales do blow,
God help us if the cargo shifts, for then we're bound to go.

And she's loaded up to the fairleads, and down to the Plimsoll line,
Her bilges choked and her bulkheads sprung, and the pumps tied up with twine;
And it's fare you well, good comrades all, for aboard her we must be.
A call or two we've got to pay, a call or two upon the way,
From Liverpool to Frisco Bay,
And all across the China Sea.


Comments about The China Sea by Cicely Fox Smith

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



[Report Error]