Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wave over Wave

Here’s a shanty by Jim Payne on the theme of a sailor’s lot when sailing ships were commonplace. The ditty tells the story of a sailor who was wedded to the sea rather than his wife. He’d been a part owner of a schooner for 40 years, and couldn’t understand why he preferred life at sea with all its hardships to being at home with his wife and children.

The modern small boat sailor goes to sea for adventure, not out of compulsion or necessity, but for enjoyment and challenge. Even with electronic aids, diesel engines, and well engineered equipment, today’s recreational sailors can’t escape some of the hardships experienced by old salts in the days of sail, because the sea has no mind of its own, but it can exact the same costly price wherever weakness may be found in ship or man.

Wave Over Wave by Jim Payne

Me name's Able Rogers, a shareman am I
On a three-masted schooner from Twillingate Isle
I've been the world over, north, south, east, and west
But the middle of nowhere's where I like it best
Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow
There's no other life for a sailor like me
But to sail the salt sea, boys, sail the sea
There's no other life but to sail the salt sea
The work it is hard and the hours are long
My spirit is willing, my back it is strong
And when the work's over then whiskey we'll pour
We'll dance with the girls upon some foreign shore
I'd leave my wife lonely ten months of the year
She made me a home and raised my children dear
But she'd never come out to bid farewell to me
Or ken why a sailor must sail the salt sea
I've sailed the wide oceans four decades or more
And oft times I've wondered what I do it for
I don't know the answer, it's pleasure and pain
With life to live over, I'd do it again

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