So I, a battleshrimp went to sea
And waved farewell to my family
And owed a debt to the general shop
For donning me fair with a good set of mops
To paddle past the harbour wall
And see the sea at large, a call
(At last) to arms is a shrimp’s last post-
a ‘suffer-me-not’ though the wind might boast
And scornful foam from the brine and whine
Gone cuff to fall with a salty shine
I’d had my sup and saw my friends
Done heard the calling, fix and mend
Go fix and mend mop, steer me out
I heard our Sammy pray, heave and shout
“Go fix and mend” and one and two
And other shrimps had heard him too
So “fix and mend” came chorus strong.
And then we heard the Fair Whale’s song.
And boys I’ll tell you, girls akin;
A shrimp’s heard talk of the whale long since
And some are bad and some are worse
But one’s a Fair Whale and that’s your first.
And other’s breathed “no the Fair whale’s gone,
You’ll die in the sand ‘fore you hear his Fair song”
But true as my mops and our Sammy’ll tell
That through that old dog of a sea, past the swell
And pitching high and rolling near
Was the tail of a creature so large, bend your ear
Past death, through old hope, being a fickle stung beast
I’d no worry for seconds, like at Poseidon’s feast.
And “mops away boys” called our Sammy at last
And pinned we our souls to the ghost of a mast
“When the Whale’s done with calling, we’ll follow him down”
Spoke a shrimp to my stern and my stern to my frown.
In concentration, bury my mop,
With a-fixin’, more mending, we flew through the slop
‘Till we’d all been a-floating a while where he’d been.
Old George’d cracked his mop (so he vented his spleen)
Came out pink in the green and us helping him by
But I knew sans a mop, he’d be fixin’ to die.
And as he whispered his curse ‘pon the fray of the wind,
The depths opened up and they swallowed us in.
Now as schoolin’ young shrimps you’ll know all the rules
But I swear on my mops they’re as useless as tools
Like a key finished turning when the latch is still on
Or your grandmother’s teeth that have all left and gone
For I saw what I saw, and ne’er a regret
And the natural law is a two to one bet.
Gone were Sammy and George and the rest a-quick after
To the sound of the water’s trickling laughter
As bubbles went down an the swirl came up over
And walls of it stayed like the green cliffs of clover.
We fell very slow and my mops I held tight
As my friends went before me and fell far from sight.
“Did he die in the briny?” I hear you’ve heard talk.
Well I’m standing ‘afore ye’ and look at me walk-
With a gait less than graceful and half of my wits
But the life’s in my tail and my stone rolling mits.
Long dropped are my mops and to sea I’ll no more
And the Fair Whale I’ll watch from the height of the shore.
“Was he fair?” – there’s no call to pit nature at time.
I’d falter for words for the taste of the brine,
Or the feeling of seven, or the way we’ve been made
Yet I’ll live in the same world as you ‘till I fade
And you’ll all hear the calling. You’ll say yay or nay.
And the bottom might top you, as night follows day
And I’ve never been scared of the knowledge I’ve borne
As alone I survived to see countless of storms.
For to die where I didn’t is nature’s untruth
And I’ll be that young choice ‘till I’m long in the tooth.
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