Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Half Loaf - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

There ain't the tall windjammers like we knew when we was young,
With their masts as made a forest every water-front along;
But I know a smutty cargo tramp that's loadin' at Millwall,
An' any ship's a better ship than no darned ship at all . . .
When she's outward bound - an' the same ol' seas'll hustle 'er -
Outward bound - an' the same ol' winds'll bustle 'er -
South away to Singapore, North away to Nome,
An' round the world an' back again is one way 'ome.

There ain't the good old 'ouse-flags every shellback used to know
In the tea-fleet an' the wool-fleet an' the grain-fleet years ago,
But there's still the same ol' Duster an' the same ol' Peter too,
An' I reckon them two's good enough for blokes like me an' you . . .
When we're outward bound - an' the same ol' stars'll wink at us -
Outward bound - an' the same ol' lights'll blink at us -
South away to Singapore, North away to Nome,
An' round the world an' back again is one way 'ome.

There ain't no capstan chorus now, there ain't no mate to bawl,
'Are ye men or are ye corpses? Give it lip now, heave an' pawl!'
But the bloomin' gulls all round 'er an' the wind that's blowing strong
In cargo gear and funnel stay, they sing the same ol' song:
'Outward bound - an' the same ol' seas'll bury 'er -
Outward bound - an' the same ol' winds'll worry 'er -
South away to Singapore, North away to Nome,
An' round the world an' back again is one way 'ome!'


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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