Tall Ship

Clambering down from the cliffs above, down to the shore below.
Running up to the salt sea edge to watch the tall ship go.
To watch the tall ship go my lad, to watch the tall ship go.
Sailing across the seven seas wherever the winds should blow.

Sailing away to foreign climes. Braving the oceans wrath.
Carrying cargoes of metal ware and colourful bales of cloth.
Making her way to distant ports, through tempests, storm and hell.
Fearing of the greeny deeps, wherein the monsters dwell.

The crew can't swim, what's the point a thousand miles from shore.
'Man overboard', the cries go out, but he is seen no more.
The wind it dies, the ships becalmed upon a mirrored sea.
A crewman cries with piteous voice. 'My God, has thou deserted me'?

The sun beats down upon the deck, the heat becomes intense.
The cabin boy lying in the glare slowly loses sense.
The sailors whistle for a wind, but still the sails won't fill.
The captain orders the whaler launched. He has an iron will.

The whalers rowed by a sweating crew, the ship, she starts to move.
They'll tow the tall ship as far as must, until the winds improve.
The cabin boy on his fever bed, dreams of home and mother.
A crewmate wipes his fevered brow, and prays that he'll recover.

A cats paw plays upon the sea, the sails begin to stir.
The sailors cheer as the whalers berthed. They won't be dying there.
A bow wave foams as the sails fill out.
'Lively now'. Comes the boson's shout.

The wind blows hard. The tall ship heels.
She's racing now as though on wheels.
Moon chases sun across the sky.
Around the masthead, the seagulls cry.

The cabin boy, his fever broke, leans upon the rail.
Gazing over the tall ships stern, watching the long wake trail.
'Land ahoy', the lookout cries, from his lofty perch.
'Where away', the skipper calls. All eyes join in the search.

'Four points off the larboard bow'. The bosun points the way.
'With any luck', the First mate says. 'We'll make it home today'.
Stately, gliding up the river with pilot at the wheel.
The captain watches o'er his crew, knowing how they feel.

At last, the lines are fast ashore. The crew, with sea-bags stowed,
jostle each other down the plank, to take the homeward road.
The Skipper, writing up his log. Thought another voyage completed.
With such a ship and such a crew, he'll never be defeated.

by Brian Joseph Dickenson

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