Sailortown in Focus
This website is dedicated to the Sailortown district of Belfast and the people who once lived there
SAILOR TOWN by Cicely Fox Smith
Along the wharves in sailor town a singing whisper goes
Of the wind among the anchored ships, the wind that blows
Off a broad brimming water, where the summer day has died
Like a wounded whale a-sounding in the sunset tide.
There's a big China liner gleaming like a gull,
And her lit ports flashing; there's the long gaunt hull
Of a Blue-Funnel freighter with her derricks dark and still;
And a tall barque loading at the lumber mill.
And in the shops of sailor town is every kind of thing
That the sailormen buy there, or the ships' crews bring:
Shackles for a sea-chest and pink cockatoos,
Fifty-cent alarum clocks and dead men's shoes.
You can hear the gulls crying, and the cheerful noise
Of a concertina going, and a singer's voice —
And the wind's song and the tide's song, crooning soft and low
Rum old tunes in sailor town that seamen know.
I dreamed a dream in sailor town, a foolish dream and vain,
Of ships and men departed, of old days come again —
And an old song in sailor town, an old song to sing
When shipmate meets with shipmate in the evening.
Notes From SAILOR TOWN: Sea Songs And Ballads, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by George H. Doran Co., New York, US, © 1919, pp. 11-12. An earlier edition of this book was published by Elkin Mathews, © 1914.
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