Sailor Town

Cicely Fox Smith

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Along the wharves of Sailor Town a singing whisper goes
Of the wind among the anchored ships, the wind that gently blows.
Of a broad, brimming water where Summer day has died
Like a wounded whale a-sounding in the sunset tide.


I dreamed a dream in Sailor Town, a foolish dream and vain
Of ships and men departed, of old times come again,
And an old song in Sailor Town, an old song to sing,
When shipmate meets with shipmate in the evening.

There's a big China liner gleaming like a gull
And her lit ports a-flashing along the long, gaunt hull
Of a Blue-Funnel freighter with her derricks stark and still
And a tall barque a-loading down at the lumber mill.

And in the shops of Sailor Town is every kind of thing
That the sailors buy there or the sailors bring.
Shackles for a sea-chest and pink cockatoos
Aye, and fifty-cent alarm clocks and also dead men's shoes.

You can hear the gulls a-crying and the cheerful noise
Of a concertina playing and a singer's voice,
And the wind's song and the tide's song crooning soft and low
The rum old songs in Sailor Town that the seamen know.

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