The Bosun's Song

from Volume IX of
The Posthumous Ballads of Y. Isadore Locht


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To all the brave boys who sail the seas and
To all the brave boys who see the sails and
To all the brave boys who save the seals
is this tragedy defecated.

O, many's the man who's gone through Hell
And returned with tales to alarm us.
But nary a sailor is here to tell
Of the night we fought the Squamous.

'Twas Marblehead, from where we sailed,
On the thirtieth day of June.
Eighteen ought seven was the year,
And the full was of the moon.

"O, hoist the sails," our Captain cried,
"Mind not your ladies' tears.
"The finest of laddies on the sea, you are,
"And the bravest of volunteers."

"O, tarry yet a little while,
"This night portends no good.
"The humpback hides beneath the wave
"And the wind bears rotting cod."

"O, nay, O, nay," our Captain cried,
"Tides call, despite these tidings.
"We must away, whate'er betide,
"And waves we must be riding."

So from the wind our gallant ship
With doughty crew drew breath.
From our rendezvous with rotting fish
To our rendezvous with death.

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'Twas October the fifth we crossed the bar
And Christmas ere land saw we.
Becalmed we were, neath the southern star,
In the Pancreatic Sea.

The Squamous lived midst mounds of gold.
Gods quivered to their dance.
Their cities built, as old as old,
On the Isles of Langerhans.

And as we languished in despair,
By them we were espied.
Arrows came from everywhere
And again the Captain cried.

"O, man the oars," our Captain cried,
"Row, row your boat away."
But nary an ear was tuned, beside,
The dead could not obey.

O, many's the man who's gone through Hell
And returned with tales to alarm us.
But nary a sailor is here to tell
Of the night we fought the Squamous.

Carl S. Kosof 3/11/2006
Copyright © 1989 Carl S. Kosof

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