written by John Masefield
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"Goneys an' gullies an' all o' the birds o' the sea
They ain't no birds, not really", said Billy the Dane.
"Not mollies, nor gullies, nor goneys at all", said he,
"But simply the sperrits of mariners livin' again.
"Them birds goin' fishin' is nothin' but the souls o' the drowned,
Souls o' the drowned, an' the kicked as are never no more
An' that there haughty old albatross cruisin' around,
Belike he's Admiral Nelson or Admiral Noah.
"An' merry's the life they are living. They settle and dip,
They fishes, they never stands watches, they waggle their wings;
When a ship comes by, they fly to look at the ship
To see how the nowaday mariners manages things.
"When freezing aloft in a snorter I tell you I wish --
(Though maybe it ain't like a Christian) -- I wish I could be
A haughty old copper-bound albatross dipping for fish
And coming the proud over all o' the birds o' the sea."
|Works by this author are in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 51 years or less.|