VERSE of the Sea

– Anonymous

Dear God, be good to me;

The sea is so wide,

And my boat is so small.


by Alan Rawlinson

Sometimes when I’m lonely, 

I think of life at sea,

The endless miles of empty ocean,

and all the birds,  so free.

Is there a pattern, hard to see,

Among the waves and troughs,

Or is it all a random thing,

Just nothingness and froth?

There is a beauty, wild and proud,

an earthly majesty,

Free, for all the feeling ones,

just staring out to sea .

Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,

  And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

  When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

    Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

    Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

    When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

    The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

    When I have crossed the bar.


This anonymous children’s poem, a bit of fun!

I saw a ship a-sailing, a-sailing in the sea,

And it was deeply laden with pretty things for me

There were comforts in the cabin

And apples in the hold

The sails were made of satin

And masts were made of gold.

The four and twenty sailors

That stood above the deck

Were four and twenty white mice

With chains around their neck

The captain was a duck

With a packet on his back

And when the ship began to move

The captain said “Quack, quack”

Tramp Odyssey

by Alan Rawlinson

A big bluff bow looms over the quay,

a shaking ladder beckons me,

This magic beanstalk, I understand,

will whisk me off to foreign lands.

Soon the sun and flying fish,

show the way – a special bliss

of still, calm dawns, and sudden storms

twinkling stars, both near and far.

Working cargo through the night,

wet and sticky, might fuse the lights,

sweating gunnies between the beams

with glinting hooks by native teams.

Hardship sometimes is the ship I’m on

all at war and nothing won,

Unlucky in the choice of ship

and feeling numb on a 2 year trip

Then a port calls out, loud and clear,

the bars, the girls, if it’s not too dear.

The barren living’s put on pause,

it’s paradise on distant shores.

All is pleasure all is fun,

then sailing onward in the sun,

endless days and the tricky ways

of working up the daily run.

Moonless nights and a million stars,

jar the senses from afar,

It’s timeless space, and the human race

sees just how small we really are.

A bright blue planet floating free,

ants tracking over miles of sea,

we keep our watch, the dolphins dive,

we’re living out our own short lives.

Something special and precious too,

these trips were a potent brew,

we tasted things quite rare today

and savoured times long gone away.

It was the tramp ships, wild and free,

best for those who went to sea

All the ports, strange human sorts,

A heady cocktail, just made for thee.

Sea Fever

John Masefield. 1878-1967

I must go down to the se again,

To the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song,

And the white sails shaking

And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide,

Is a wild call and a clear call that may be not be denied,

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying.

And the flung spray and the blown spume and the sea gulls crying.

I must go down to the sea again, and to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gulls way and the whales way where the wind’s like a whetted knife

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover 

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

The log of Davy Jones

I’m nodding and a blinking, as I sit here at my ease,

And memory takes me back again to the days I sailed the seas,

And in the flickering firelight, the ghosts flit to and fro.

Ghosts of those good old sailing ships I knew so long ago.

I can feel the old ‘ Glenorchy’ from the Cape come booming home,

Rolling down to Saint Helena, her bows a-cream with foam.

With the ‘ Drummuir ‘ running neck and neck, the ‘ Palgrave ‘ far away,

And the ‘ Inchcape Rock’ , that later left her bones in Alloa Bay.

From Garden Reach to Esplanade, they lay in serried ranks,

Those old Calcutta traders, the ‘ Falls’ and ‘ Brocklebanks ‘.

The ‘ Bens’ and ‘ Glens’ , the ‘ Fernie’ ships, and others as wellknown.

With Jimmy Nourse’s coolie ships, the ‘ Sheila’, ‘ Erne’ and ‘ Rhone’

The ‘ Oakbank’ and the ‘ Otterspool’ both burned in far Peru.

The ‘ Frankistan’ and ‘Fannie Kerr’, the ‘ Frank N Thayer’, too.

‘Sir Lancelot’ the beautiful famed clipper in her day,

Loaded deep with salt from Muscat, when she foundered in the Bay.

‘Taitsing’ was wrecked on Zanzibar, ‘ Eden Holme’ on Hebe reef,

The ‘ Flying Spur’ on Martin Vas had also come to grief.

The ‘ Flying Venus’ on Penrhyn, ‘ Loch Sloy’ on Kangaroo.

‘Loch Vennacher’ had left her bones upon this island too.

The ‘ Nylghau’ and the ‘Alex McNeil’ passed out on Prague reef,

‘Colonial Empire’ made eight bells on the rocks of Cape Recife.

The ‘ Bangalore’ went missing, likewise the ‘Oamaru’

‘Lord Brassey’ and the ‘Manchester’, the good ship ‘Dalus’, too.

The good ‘Drumcraig’ went missing as did old ”Tamar’

‘Peter Iredale’ and ‘Galena’ on Columbia river bar.

Midway Island took the ‘Carrollton’, Layson the barque ‘Ceylon’

Ice took the ship ‘Geo’,’Peabody’, and the bonny ‘Rising Dawn’

‘Glenbervie’ on the Manacles, ‘Radiant’ on Crocodile,

‘The ‘ Lanrigg Hall ‘ on Tuskar, ‘King Lear’ on Lundy Isle,

‘Seeadler, the Pirate , wrecked on South Sea Isles afar.

Remembered by old sailor men as the ‘Pass of Balmaha’.

Malden Island took the ‘Salamis’, Iquique the ‘ Wynnstay’,

‘Persian Empire’ and the ‘Levernbank’ both sank in Biscay Bay.

‘Glenericht’, by collision, south of the River Plate,

On lonely Inaccessible, the ‘Shakespeare’ met her fate.

The ‘Allanshaw’ and ‘Mabel Clarke’ on Tristran’s rocky shore,

‘ Glunhuntley ‘ and the ‘Beacon Light’ nearby has paid their score.

‘ County  of Roxburgh’ and the ‘Savernake’ on Paumotos made their bed,

‘Edw. O’Brian’ and ‘Dunreggan’ piled up on Diamond Head. 

The ‘Primrose Hill’ on Holyhead went down with all her crew, 

The ‘ Thracian ‘ on her maiden trip took all hands with her too.

The ‘ Ardencraig’ on Scilly, ‘Tarridon’, sunk by Huns,

‘Cape Wrath’ and ‘Cadzow Forest’ took their pilots and were gone.

King Island took ‘ Loch Leven’, likewise the ‘Kalahine’,

‘Lizzie Iredale’ went missing with the ‘Heathbank’ and ‘Loch Fyne’.

‘Powys Castle’, ‘Cosmopolis’, ‘ Clencaird’ and the ‘Indore’

All made eight bells on Staten Island’s shore. 

Now the fire is getting lower and the ghosts have feed to play,

and methinks I hear a cock crow – It’s near the break of day.

I’ll make four bells and go below, to rest my weary bones,

But I bow my head to the men and ships that have gone to Davy Jones. 

By Anon

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