Frederic William Moorman

His Last Sail

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GRANDFATHER
T' watter is blue i' t' offin',
An' blue is t' sky aboon;
Swallows are settin' sou'ard,
An' wanin' is t' harvist moon.
Ower lang I've bin cowerin' idle
I' my neuk by t' fire-side;
I'll away yance mair i' my coble,
I'll away wi' t' ebbin' tide.

MALLY
Nay, Gransir, thoo moant gan sailin',
Thoo mun bide at yam to-neet;
At eighty-two thoo sudn't think
O' t' Whitby fishin' fleet.
North cone's up on t' flagstaff,
There's a cap-full o' wind i' t' bay;
T' waves wap loud on t' harbour bar,
Thoo can hardlins fish to-day.

GRANDFATHER
It's leansome here i' t' hoose, lass,
When t' fisher-folk's at sea,
Watchin' yon eldin(1) set i' t' fire
Bleeze up, dwine doon, an' dee.
An' t' sea-gulls they coom flyin'
Aboon our red roof-tiles;
They call me doon the chimley,
An' laugh at other whiles.

"There's mack'rel oot at sea, lad,"
Is what I hear 'em say;
"Their silver scales are glestrin' breet,
Look oot across the bay;
But mack'rel's not for thee, lad,
For thoo's ower weak to sail."
My een wi' saut tears daggle(2)
When I hear their mockin' tale.

MALLY
Dean't mind their awfish(3) skreekin',
They 'tice folk to their death;
Then ride aboon yon billows
An' gloor at them beneath.
They gloor at eenless corpses
Slow driftin' wi' the tide,
Deep doon amang the weedy wrack,
Wheer t' scaly fishes glide.

GRANDFATHER
I'd fain lig wi' my kinsfolk,
Fore-elders, brothers, sons,
Wheer t' star-fish shine like twinklin' leets,
An' t' spring-tide watter runs.
T' kirkyard's good for farm-folk,
That ploo an' milk their kye,
But I could sleep maist soondly
Wheer t' ships gan sailin' by.

T' grave is whisht(4) an' foulsome,
But clean is t' saut sea-bed;
Thoo can hark to t' billows dancin'
To t' tune o' t' tide owerhead.
Yon wreaths o' floors i' t' kirkyard
Sean wither an' fade away,
But t' sea-tang wreaths round a droon'd man's head
Will bide while Judgment Day.

Sae fettle(5) my owd blue coble,
I kessen'd her "Mornin' Star,"
An' I'll away through t' offin'
Wheer t' skooals o' mack'rel are.
Thoo can look for my boat i' t' harbour,
When thoo's said thy mornin' psalm;
Mebbe I'll fill my fish-creel full -
Mebbe I'll nean coom yam.

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Frederic William Moorman