Bill Adams Poems >>
Home Round The Horn

It's blowing up squally, it's piping like hell,
And the packet she rolls till she tinkles her bell;
Oh, I hope it may blow for a week at the least;
She's a Liverpool packet and bound to the East.

Her foresail is reefed, and it bellies out full
To the westerly roaring, like Barney's black bull;
Her six yellow topsails are straining and wet,
And high on the main a topgallantsail's set.

It's raining; it's hailing; and here comes the snow,
And her sea-booted skipper is up from below;
"Let her go as she is, sir," says he with a grin;
"Have all hands keep handy; let no one turn in."

It's summer off Stiff, and her lifelines are tight;
There's a flickering gleam from her binnacle light,
And her sidelights are winking toward Liverpool town,
As we sweat up her halliards to Blow the Man Down.

The chief mate looks into our half-deck; says he,
"The drift ice is clinking all over the sea."
And the youngest apprentice is shivering and white
As she rollicks and rambles for home through the night.

Oh, there's no time at sea like the time you're bound home,
When the decks are waist deep in the greeny-white foam;
When she leaps and she lifts to the best of the squall
In December off Stiff — there's the best time of all.