Sailormans Way

Sailorman’s Way

As I pace the quarters of my first command
my rank of post captain on the war sloop Slogan
I think of my father what little I knew
but like him before me, a sailorman true

I joined the Calypso at the age of ten
the youngest midshippman in Hammond’s command
for the promise of action to the Indies we sailed
for disease and rebellion and hurricane gales

That day on the gun deck I met me first crew
me own Da among them though ne’er of us knew
for my name is Slinger and his was McCann
and he was a bold gunner and a proud sailorman

He taught me the ropes from the deck to the tops
to wash in the wardroom but hang o’er the slops
and though it was Nedly who taught me to play
me own Da he taught me the sailorman’s way

He’d wax on the watches of exotic ports
likewise stories of Erin and me own County Cork
sang of an apprentice with blue eyes of glass
and I knew I had found me poor father at last

And I vowed to tell him upon the next morn
But the frogs snapped our cable, damn near ran us ashore
And of the French frigates, one sank and one ran
But among the dead crewman the gunner McCann

So all ye young sailors and all ye old hands
pay heed to my story of the proud sailorman
and always remember as I do today
Those bold men what taught you the sailorman’s way

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