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'Land ahoy'

Lend my heart an ear and you may hear

The crash of waves on distant shores,

Perhaps even the trade winds in the

Sails of great clippers racing the sun to

Make harbour before nightfall.


Pray the wind blows strong and our

Course be true. 'Land ahoy' echoes from

The crow's nest, news that travels faster

Than a rat up an anchor rope, when from

Cabin boy to Captain joy decorates faces

Darkened by the punishing sun of tropical



Men too long at sea, too long without

Feminine attention, ready the ship and

Themselves for port. What mess kettle can

Compete with the night to come in the

Bars and taverns of Plymouth, where rivers

Of rum will flow copiously down thirsty



As the night wears on, coins pressed

Into the hands of musicians give rise to

Sea shanties sung at full belt telling all

Abroad that a tea clipper is safely in port,

And as dawn approaches, tiptoe laughter

Ripples from the inn keepers best rooms,

Where the silence of taffeta and cotton

Neither betray the wench nor the sailor.

© Joseph G Dawson