Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Day Of Little Ships - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Long after the shadow of war is fled
And the last battle is fought
Men will remember the Little Ships
And the great things they wrought.

We shall tell over with laughter and tears
The homely names they bore -
They, not meant for the baptism of fire
And the grim uses of war.

Paddler, dinghy and sailing barge


And the humble Marthas of the ports
That have no name to tell.

Let us remember them and their men
Who asked not fee nor fame,
But all they knew was a job to do,
And they spat on their palms and they came.

They dared the hell of the shell-swept dunes,
The hell of the bomb-torn tide,
They cared not a damn if they sank or swam,
Nor yet if they lived or died.

Home they came from that coast of death,
Each with her tale of men,
Stayed but to set them ashore - and so
Back to hell’s mouth again. . . .

Therefore, while England’s cliffs shall stand,
And the Channel tides do roll,
Let us remember the Little Ships -
How on the Day of the Little Ships
They saved an army whole.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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