Harry Kemp

(15 December 1883 – 8 August 1960 / Youngstown, Ohio)

Clipper Days (a song from Snug Harbor)


I am eighty years old and somewhat,
But I give to God the praise
That they made a sailor of me
In the good old Clipper Days

When men loved ships like women,
And going to sea was more
Than signing on as a deckhand
And scrubbing a cabin floor,

Or chipping rust from iron
And painting . . . and chipping again . . .
In the days of Clipper Sailing
The sea was the place for
men
:

You could spy our great ships running
White-clouded, tier on tier;
You could hear their trampling thunder
As they leaned to, racing near;

And it was 'heigh and ho, my lad,'
And 'we are outward bound,' -
And we sang full many a chantey
As we walked the capstan round,

And we sang full many a chantey
As we drove through wind and wet
To the music of Five Oceans
Ringing in my memory yet . . .

Go drive your dirty freighters
That fill the sky with reek, -
But we - we took in sky-sails
High as mountain peaks;

Go, fire your sweaty engines
And watch your pistons run, -
We had the wind to serve us,
The living wind, my son,

And we didn't need propellers
That kicked a mess about,
But we hauled away with chanteys
Or we let the great sails out . . .

And I'm eighty year old and somewhat -
And I give to God the praise
That they made a sailor of me
In the good old Clipper Days!

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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