Rum Sonnet

There came I day when I set out to sea

With a bottle of rum and a head full of cloud

The wind at my back, I was happy as can be

Rum in hand, head high and proud

Those early days brought summer weather

And ocean salt blew freely through my hair

Many sips of grog and I was light as a feather

Rollicking and roving without any care

Yet the innocent times were not to last

For dark tidings loomed beyond the breach

A powerful storm destroyed the ship’s mast

Foolish was I, grasping beyond my reach

From a watery grave let my tale unfold

N’er the rum make you a sailor bold 

Nelson’s Memorial

When the sailor went to sea
He heard every shanty under the sun
His favourite was a Drop Of Nelson’s Blood
Hard bastard that Horatio
So goddamn legendary his men pickled him in rum
They drank his essence to stay strong
To carry his spirit through the ages
The sailor thought about it
Every time he knocked back a tot
“Forget that cremation and coffin shite.
Bury me at sea in a barrel of rum.”
He told his buddies
Years later,
When the sailor was old, grey and passed away
His buddies chipped in for a barrel
Sent him on down to Fiddler’s Green
So he could raise a cup with Lord Nelson
And shares stories of the sea.

Songs Of The Sea: Fiddler’s Green

No matter the time period, a life at sea is no picnic and sailors would often find ways to break up the monotony and pain of long voyages. Sea shanties were common and while many songs carried a melancholy tune, there were others that had a far more hopeful outlook. 

Fiddler’s Green is one such example. Described as an afterlife for sailors, Fiddler’s Green is a sea shanty that describes rebirth and endless possibilities.

Continue reading “Songs Of The Sea: Fiddler’s Green”

A Merry Life And A Short One

When the boy went to sea

He had no idea of the life he would lead

All he wanted was to leave the old one behind

Scrubbing decks was his bread and butter

Aboard, there was no bread and butter to eat

After the first month he stowed away on another ship

A great beast of a vessel railing against the wind

Powered by a restless need to wander and conquer

The captain found him the same day

Half-starved, more ghost than boy

Rum brought him back to life

Warmed his blood 

From that day forward he wore many hats

Swabbie, powder monkey, first mate, captain

Shanties became his lullaby

Violence became his religion

Rum became his mistress

Drank in victory, burned in defeat

Years later the boy returned home

His father didn’t recognise him

He saw a man in fine clothes

It was the last thing he saw

The boy went back to the sea

Roving to the edges of the world

Until he went down with his ship

A merry life and a short one

Songs Of The Sea: Jolly Roving Tar

Sea shanties are musical snapshots in time. They convey a sense of what conditions were like for sailors during the heyday of piracy and many are still sung today to celebrate the history of ships and the navy.

Rum was a common theme in various shanties and it crops up a few times in Jolly Roving Tar.  A sea shanty with a bittersweet tone, Jolly Roving Tar has multiple interpretations.

Continue reading “Songs Of The Sea: Jolly Roving Tar”