Cicely Fox Smith
The Day's Work - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
'A woman's work is never done,
Or so I've heard,' said Dan;
'But if that's true of anyone,
That one's a sailorman.'
'The folks ashore think life at sea's
All leaning on the rail
To smoke your pipe an' take your ease
An' watch the hooker sail.'
'I'd like to 'ave 'em 'ere, that's all,
In this 'ere watch with me,
To take their turn at pullyhaul,
Like all the rest,' said he.
'I'd like to see 'em splashin' round
On the slantin' streamin' decks,
An' tallyin' on a brace 'arf drowned,
With water to their necks;'
'Or layin' out on a tops'l yard,
Some dark night, shortenin' sail,
With the canvas frozen iron-'ard,
In a shrickin' Cape 'Orn gale.'
'An' then, when to their bunks they crawl,
Their eyes ain't closed afore
'All 'ands!' they hear the bos'n bawl,
An' tumble up once more.'
'But times like that ain't what I mind;
It's when it's fine it's worse;
The jobs o' work of every kind
'Ud make a parson curse.'
'There's soogy-moogy, tar and ile,
There's 'olystones an' paint,
An' the Chief Mate fussin' fit to rile
A blushin' plaster saint.'
'There's rattlin' down an' slushin' too,
There's endless shiftin' sail,
An' chippin' plates till all is blue,
Nor that ain't 'arf the tale.'
'For, calm or storm, and rain or sun,
You can take this 'ere from me,
A sailor's work is never done,
An' that's a fact,' said he.
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