The Last Shanty


From packet and clipper, from Royal destroyer,

with prayer and with hymn

and a rum-drenched Amen,                                                                              

goodbye to the matelot and captain;

so long to the boatswain and master.

We're chanting to ease up the passing.


The last one is sung in a million tongues.

Grief-soaked and lonesome

haul hard on the Solent.

The last one is sung by them all.


A plash of committal. The lash of the wind

on castanet skeletons, fishes who swim

with the daddies and grandads

o'er Horse and Dean Sand,

to the fort there at Spitbank,

in caskets so grand.

We're chanting to ease up the passing.


The last one is sung in a million tongues,

salty and free,

in full liberty.

The last one is sung by them all.


You riggers and stokers set sail to drop anchor

where lads can relax, and the rations are massive,

and backs never lashed

nor words ever spoken in anger.

We're chanting to ease up the passing.


The last one is sung in a million tongues,

no work to be done,               

no work to be done.                             

The last one is sung by them all.


They roll and they pitch and they whistle and drift;

white horses to roam

and ride them to home,

to sleep in the ocean and sing everlasting.

We're chanting to ease up the passing.


The last one is sung by a million tongues.

We'll lie here forever

and rock in the weather.                                                                    

The last one is sung by them all.


◄ Mavis

The Ties That Bind ►


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Laura Taylor

Thu 9th Aug 2018 10:22

Hey - thanks to you both. I worked hard to make damned sure it was actually a shanty.

I had to look up Running Down to Cuba, Big Sal!

Big Sal

Wed 8th Aug 2018 15:34

Excellent how you formatted a shanty into a poem. This and "Running Down to Cuba" are the ones I'll probably remember most.?

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john short

Tue 7th Aug 2018 10:37

Some great lines here. I particularly liked "a rum-drenched Amen" It really does have the flavor of an old sea shanty and probably goes well with a musical accompaniment.

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Laura Taylor

Tue 3rd Jul 2018 10:51

Aye course I remember them suki ? Great band.

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suki spangles

Mon 2nd Jul 2018 23:04

Do you remember the Waterboys? They could do justice to this.


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Laura Taylor

Mon 2nd Jul 2018 11:26

Thanks very much Martin!

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Martin Elder

Sun 1st Jul 2018 20:09

I think most people have taken the words out of my mouth with this one. It is totally inspired and would love to hear you either recite it or sing it.
Thanks for posting it
Nice one

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Laura Taylor

Sun 1st Jul 2018 17:11

Hey thank you everyone ?

My lovely fella wrote a tune to it yesterday while I was out gigging. It sounds amazing and we were singing it over and over ?

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Sat 30th Jun 2018 18:03

A masterwork to be admired with its thorough understanding and feelings of tribute Outstanding Laura.

I'm glad that writing it had a personal purpose for you - that came over too.


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Stu Buck

Sat 30th Jun 2018 17:19

utterly wonderful


Sat 30th Jun 2018 16:59

..really a fantastic piece of writing, Laura.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 30th Jun 2018 16:41

The word "romance" is often limited nowadays - against
the value of its much wider meaning. These lines return
the word to its proper place - a fitting eulogy to those
who went down to the sea in ships, the lives they led and
the memories they left behind. I have a love of sea-shanties and these lines evoke their intentions and
accomplishments towards the work and inspiration in lives
led aboard ship throughout changes in the maritime world.
And a fitting tribute indeed!

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Laura Taylor

Sat 30th Jun 2018 12:57

Thanks Pat ?

Pat Hughes

Fri 29th Jun 2018 23:14

The honesty and quiet grief,and a big smile for all that made your dad so special makes this an excellent poem.
Love it!

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Laura Taylor

Fri 29th Jun 2018 16:05

Thanks Hazel. Yeh, was for my lovely Dad, who finally got his full Naval Committal a couple of weeks ago ? My grand-dad's was at the same spot too, 40-odd years ago.

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Hazel ettridge

Fri 29th Jun 2018 15:55

Laura, just realised the personal nature of this (after reading Ian's comment). What a beautiful tribute.

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Laura Taylor

Fri 29th Jun 2018 15:51

Thanks Hazel - I'm very pleased it has that feel, that's what I was aiming for.

Ian - thank you - I hope he would. So many things I wish I could tell him, show him. The idea of a last shanty wouldn't leave me alone, and kind of helps me to think about him, about them all, out there. Cheers! ?

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Ian Whiteley

Fri 29th Jun 2018 15:09

IMO - best thing I've read of yours possibly EVER - it is so good - I can hear you reciting it as I read it and every word in every line is so well placed and expertly used.
He would have been very proud of this I'm certain - it speaks a universal message of loss, regret and being comforted that there is somewhere to go even beyond the end.
Loved it to bits mate

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Hazel ettridge

Fri 29th Jun 2018 14:50

I love it. It has the feel of a many times sung shanty, written of its day. In fact I was singing It In my head as I read It.

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