Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Ship's Good-Bye - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

I leaned on the taffrail, I saw the day dying
Like a flock of gay birds round the royal yards flying;
High over the sunset I saw the young moon,
And the wind and the tide they were singing one tune.

'A hundred and fifty days out from Vancouver
(Don't you hear 'em all singing it over and over?)
A hundred and fifty days longer to roam
(Or less if you're lucky) to England and home!'

The ship took it up as she tugged at her tether,
Brace, footrope, and halliard all whistling together,
And so did the seagulls which round her did call -
But oh, my heart sang it the strongest of all!

There be many good songs we have knocked round the world to,
Manned capstan and halliard, reefed, shifted and furled to,
All round the oceans, since first we did roll
By the Straits of Le Mair for Coquimbo with coal.

All round the world, lads, to ports without number,
Chile for nitrates, the Fraser for lumber,
Where charters might offer or cargoes might call -
But the homeward-bound chantey's the best of them all.

'A hundred and fifty days out from Vancouver
Brings the ship to the land, brings the lad to his lover,
A hundred and fifty days longer to roam
(Or less if you're lucky) to England and home!'


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010



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