Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Cabin Boy

The Cabin Boy by Ralph Hedley

Fifteen I was on my first voyage
Mother cried for she had this presage
"A sailor you?" her face my last visage
As she bade farewell from her cottage

To Portsmouth you go was the message
Cabin boy, deep south was the passage
Enduring hard work the long voyage
And such foul weather did us ravage

Strange people we saw with odd language
Some to fear because they were savage
Seas too were fierce for us to manage
Swear words I now learned in their usage

Seas were rough and food in shortage
On this vessel there was no wastage
No place to go for we were hostage
Until we had found safe anchorage

Months is was after such rough mileage
We sailed in port after this haulage
Sydney Town to disgorge our stowage
Though so much was ruined by spoilage

Has this trip added to my knowledge?
Or did part of me suffer damage
No, for now I do have the courage
The better for my life to manage

It has all been to my advantage
I've seen the wide world and come of age
I have grown but not suffered damage
And now ashore even eat cabbage!

Image found at

1 comment:

  1. The rhyme echoes the swell of those waves..and i love how the journey is both geographical and one of learning..although the reward for a safe return cabbage! I think i may demand something a little more exciting...a wonderful tale and poem Old Egg