One of Wally's Yarns

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One of Wally's Yarns
written by John Masefield
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The watch was up on the topsail-yard a-making fast the sail,
'N' Joe was swiggin' his gasket taut, 'n' I felt the stirrup give,
'N' he dropped sheer from the tops'1-yard 'n' barely cleared the rail,
'N' o' course, we bein' aloft, we couldn't do nothin' —
We couldn't lower a boat and go a-lookin' for him,
For it blew hard 'n' there was sech a sea runnin'
               That no boat wouldn't live.

I seed him rise in the white o' the wake, I seed him lift a hand
('N' him in his oilskin suit 'n' all), I heard him lift a cry;
'N' there was his place on the yard 'n' all, 'n' the stirrup's busted strand,
'N' the old man said there 's a cruel old sea runnin',
A cold green Barney's Bull of a sea runnin';
It's hard, but I ain't agoin' to let a boat be lowered:
               So we left him there to die.

He couldn't have kept afloat for long an' him lashed up 'n' all,
'N' we couldn't see him for long, for the sea was blurred with the sleet 'n' snow,
'N' we couldn't think of him much because o' the snortin', screamin' squall.
There was a hand less at the halliards 'n' the braces,
'N’ a name less when the watch spoke to the muster-roll,
'N' a empty bunk 'n' a pannikin as wasn't wanted
               When the watch went below.


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