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Valentine's Special


The maritime poetry of Ciecely Fox Smith has impressed me for many years now. If the winds prove too light... or too strong while out sailing, I use that time to practise "reciting" on my captive crew. I hope you will enjoy these two poems, which strike me as a poignent valentines rememberance of Ms. Smith's on-board romance with her sailor Dan.


There was ten men haulin' on the lee force brace
in the rain an' the drivin' hail,
An' the mile-long graybreads chargin' by'
In a thunderin' Cape Horn gale.

That dark it was, you scarce could see
Your hand before your face;
That cold it was, our fingers froze
Stiff as they gripped the brace.

An' "Bless my soul" says Dan, "for a night in port
An' a Dago fiddler's tune.
An' just one whiff o' the drinks again
In a warm Callao saloon!"

There was ten men haulin' on the lee force brace
When the big sea broke onboard;
Like a stream in spate, a foamin' flood
Right fore an' aft it poured.

The ship, she staggered an' then lay still ....
So deep, so dead lay she,
You'd swear she could not rise again
From such a weight of sea.

There was ten men haulin' on the lee force brace....
Seven when she rose at last;
The rest was gone to the pitch dark night,
the sea, an' the ice-cold blast.

Now one of them was Dago Pete,
An' one was Lars the Dane,
An' the third...the lad whose like on Earth
I shall not see again.

An' I'll heave an' haul an' stand my wheel,
An reef and furl with the rest...
For winds an' seas go on the same,
When they've took an' drowned the best.

Now it ain't no use to curse the Lord,
Nor it ain't no sense to moan,
For a man must live his life the same,
An' keep his grief his own.

So I'll drink my drink an' sing my song,
An' nobody'll know but me
A lump o' my heart went down with Dan...
That night on the Wild Horn Sea.

Now before you get mad at me for having you read this sad rememberance of on.


In a sailormen's restaurant down Rotherhithe way,
Where the din of the docksides is loud all the day,
And breezes come bringin' across basin and pond
From all the piled acres of lumber beyond,
From the Oregon ranges the tang of the pine,
And the breath of the Baltic as bracing as wine,
Among the stale odors of hot food and cold,
In a fly-spotted window, I there did behold
A ship in a bottle some sailor had made
On watches below deck, swingin' south with the Trades,

In fancy I saw him all weathered and browned,
Deep crows-feet and wrinkles his eyelids around,
A pipe in his teeth, seemed little the worse
From Liverpool pantiles and stringy salt horse...
The hairy forearm with it's gaudy tattoo
Of a bold lookin' female in scarlet and blue...
The fingers all roughened and toughened and scarred,
With hoistin' and haulin', so caloused and hard,
So crooked and stiff you would wonder that still
They could handle with cunning and fashion with skill
The tiny full-rigger predestined to ride
On it's cable of thread, on it's green painted tide
In it's wine bottle world while the old world went on,
And the sailor who made it was long ago gone.

In fancy I listened, in fancy could hear
The thrum of the shrouds and the creak of the gear,
The patter of reef points on tops'ls a-shiver,
The song of the jibs as they tauten and quiver,
The cry of the Frigate Bird following after,
The bow wave that broke with a gurgle like laughter:
And I looked on my youth with it's pleasure and pain,
And the shipmate I loved... was beside me again,
In a ship, in a bottle, a sailin' away
In Flyin' Fish weather, through rainbows of spray,
Over oceans of wonder, by headlands a-gleam
To the harbours of youth...on the winds of a dream!

 Join us for a SWEETHEART CRUISE, with your favorite someone good for the 2013 sailing season. Sunset, on-board dessert, hand made chocolate cordials and music provided. $100 per couple.

Call for reservations: 801.636.5204

Bonneville School of Sailing

Contact Us
    •   (801) 636.5204
    •  Utah Lake State Park
       4440 West Center St.
       Provo, Utah 84601
        •  M-Sat: 8am - 9pm