Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 19 2010-02-15T17:50:00Z 2010-02-15T17:50:00Z 2 580 3309 Timberhead 27 6 4063 9.6926

The Schooner Ellenmore

牋牋牋牋牋??1992 Gordon Bok


牋牋牋牋牋?This is a true story, told to me by an old shipmate.?She didn't know that I knew both the people involved, which made it all the sadder.?So I changed the location and the schooner's name and made it into a song, to remind myself not to be doing the same.?Ellenmore, but the way, is from the Gaelic words: Ellean Mor ?the big island.

?/span>(I finished the song in Scotland in 1990.)


牋牋牋牋牋?The first time I saw Ellenmore, it was on a southeast wind

牋牋牋牋牋?Against the loom of the coming storm I saw her topsail gleam

牋牋牋牋牋?Her lines were long and lovely as she stood in from the bay

牋牋牋牋牋?And I stood on the dragger's deck and gave my heart away.


牋牋牋牋牋?She rounded up and ran her chain, her gear was stowed and furled

牋牋牋牋牋?I saw but two upon her deck, an old man and a girl

牋牋牋牋牋?As I rowed by they hailed me, and we passed the time of day

牋牋牋牋牋?And spoke of the wind and the holding ground, and how their schooner lay.


牋牋牋牋牋?The next day blowing cold and grey, they hailed me once again;

牋牋牋牋牋?I went on board to drink their tea and talk and watch the rain.

牋牋牋牋牋?The schooner old and graceful, and built for any weather

牋牋牋牋牋?And they were kind and gentle folks, the young girl and her father.


牋牋牋牋牋?I walked the island with the girl, I watched it take her heart;

牋牋牋牋牋?This land is kind in the summertime, tho summer months are short:

牋牋牋牋牋?The sudden hill, the quiet coves, the meadows in the rain

牋牋牋牋牋?The gentle grace of fir and spruce when snow and wind are gone.


牋牋牋牋牋?Her hair was brown, her hands were brown, her face was brown and wise,

牋牋牋牋牋?I watched her place her quiet feet and felt her quiet eyes,

牋牋牋牋牋?For I had been a lonely man with neither laugh nor song

牋牋牋牋牋?And each year since my Janey died was twelve Novembers long.


牋牋牋牋牋?Back on board that evening, in the schooner's warm saloon

牋牋牋牋牋?We spoke of boats and harbors and the islands we had known.

牋牋牋牋牋?They said they'd searched for years to find a place to spend their days

牋牋牋牋牋?And here they'd found their paradise ?the island and its ways.


牋牋牋牋牋?The wind was in the mastheads and the seas were hissing by

牋牋牋牋牋?And oh. the wine and song that night will hold me till I die

牋牋牋牋牋?And as I stepped o'er the schooner's rail she took me by the hand

牋牋牋牋牋?And I told her I would bless the tide that brought her here again.


牋牋牋牋牋?But oh, the months that followed were a weary weight to bear

牋牋牋牋牋?For I knew I'd been above myself when the wine was flowing fair

牋牋牋牋牋?To think she'd ever want a man who made a pauper's wage

牋牋牋牋牋?Much less a simple fisherman, and half again her age.


牋牋牋牋牋?The next time I saw Ellenmore it was Autumn, cold and wet;

牋牋牋牋牋?She come swinging up the outer bay with just her lowers set,

牋牋牋牋牋?But I couldn't bear their kindness, nor could I forget my shame,

牋牋牋牋牋?And I hope the wine had been so kind they'd not recall my name.


牋牋牋牋牋?So I swung out past the harbor ledge and drove on down the sound

牋牋牋牋牋?And hoped they'd never know me from the other boats around,

牋牋牋牋牋?But as I passed, I saw the girl come out on deck to stand

牋牋牋牋牋?And across the moving water she lifted up her hand.


牋牋牋牋牋?The next time I saw Ellenmore, it was in the early May

牋牋牋牋牋?And four long years had hauled their tides since she had passed this way

牋牋牋牋牋?I saw the old man on her deck, and he sailed her all alone

牋牋牋牋牋?As past the island's shoulder her threadbare mainsail swing.


牋牋牋牋牋?He rounded up and ran his chain, his movements slow and spare

牋牋牋牋牋?And late that day I rowed across, another meal to share.

牋牋牋牋牋?The boat was old, the man was old, the years had had their way;

牋牋牋牋牋?He asked me if I liked my life, and I had naught to say.


牋牋牋牋牋?I asked him of his daughter, but he only shook his head:

牋牋牋牋牋?"She wed a Corporation-Man; she chose her life," he said,

牋牋牋牋牋?"She might have had a simple man, her simple love to share.

牋牋牋牋牋?She saw you go out by the ledge: that broke her heart for fair."


牋牋牋牋牋?The last time I saw Ellenmore, she was standing out to sea,

牋牋牋牋牋?All plain sail on a Northeast wind, her mainsheet running free.

牋牋牋牋牋?The old man stood beside her wheel, to me he raised his hand,

牋牋牋牋牋?And I stood on the dragger's deck and watch the day go down.



The Schooner Ellenmore ?/span>is recorded on the album Schooners