Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Optimist - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

“Ships - they’re all right,” said Murphy, “for all you hear folks tell.
There some shoves their bows under in a seaway, and there’s some rolls like hell;
There’s some as can’t wear nor stay, and some won’t steer a course
Without pullin’ the arms out of you like a bad tempered horse;
And some’s wet and some’s wicked - but taking them all together
And allowing for things like bad crews an’ contrary weather,
And owners that skinny they’d die afore they’d bust a farden on paint -
Why ships ain’t bad,” said Murphy - “not to my thinkin’ they ain’t.”

“The sea’s all right,” said Murphy, “if it’s took as it comes -
good an’ bad, rough an’ smooth, Trade an’ Doldrums.
There’s pamperos and southerly busters, and maybe a hurricane
Or a typhoon or such little diversion just now and again;
But takin’ the high with the low latitudes and all the way round,
Why, the sea ain’t that bad,” said Murphy - “leastways not as I’ve found.”

“Chaps, they’re all right,” said Murphy, “took one with another -
There’s some as’d slit your throat for a nickel if you was their born brother;
There’s them as never earns their whack or work a traverse or pull their weight;
And some’s that crooked they’d make a dog’s hind-leg look straight;
Some’d pinch the pennies of a man’s eyes and he lyin’ dead;
But look at ‘em wholesale and in the lump, why chaps is mostly decent,” he said.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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