Original poem by
Burt Franklin Jenness

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Bumboats

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
from SEA LANES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
The Churchill Publishing Co., Boston, US, 1921, pp. 53-55.

Adapted and musically arranged by Charlie Ipcar 4/18/07

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Now I've had a whirl at games of chance
From Bombay 'round to Cork,
I've seen the ways of high finance
In cut-throat old New York;
I know the way a bargain's made
In Continent-al marts,
Where crafty merchants ply their trade
And practice cunning arts;
But when I call them back to mind,
I make a solemn vow
There's only one of all their kind
Could sell me something now;
There's only one that ever can
Bring pleasant thoughts to me
And that's the little bumboatman,
Who paddles out to sea:
With his:

Chorus:
"Gotta nice ripa banan,
You buy da beeg orange? He sweet!
Gotta cirgarette; lika da fan?
You lika da fine parakeet?"

Now as we watched them rowing out,
At first they looked like specks,
Just creeping down the bay,
'Bout the time we'd swabbed the decks,
They'd be hovering 'round like gulls
A-waiting the mess call hail,
We'd break for mess, and in the lulls
We'd gather 'long the rail;
They'd shout:

(Chorus)

And on the wonders in each boat
We'd feast our hungry eyes,
As their little craft would float,
We'd bargain for a prize;
Coral, shells, and blow-fish dried,
Fruit, and Guava jell,
Nuts, and gum, and dried snake hide,
Lace, and tortoise shell
And their:

(Chorus)

If there's reward for toil and strife,
When comes the final test:
For cheering up a sailor's life,
The Bumboatman's the best;
And when he gets to St. Peter's Gate,
That realm beyond the sky,
They'll wave him through with no delay
When they hear his cry:

(Chorus 2X)

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Bumboats

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
From SEA LANES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
The Churchill Publishing Co., Boston, US, 1921, pp. 53-55.

I've had a whirl at games of chance
From Bombay 'round to Cork,
I've sensed the ways of high finance
In little old New York;
I know the way a bargain's made
In Continental marts,
When crafty merchants vie for trade
And practice cunning arts;
But when I call them back to mind,
I make a solemn vow --
There's only one of all their kind
Could sell me something now;
There's only one that ever can
Bring pleasant thoughts to me --
And that's the little bumboatman,
Who paddles out to sea:
With his: "Gotta nice ripa banan,
You buy da beeg orange? He sweet!
Gotta cirgarette; lika da fan?
You lika da fine parakeet?"

O, how we watched them coming out,
At first they looked like specks,
Just creeping down the bay, and 'bout
The time we'd scrubbed down decks,
They'd be a-hovering 'round like gulls --
Just waiting for "mess gear,"
The band would play, and in the lulls
We'd call the bumboats near,
And on the wonders in each boat
We'd feast our hungry eyes,
And as the little craft would float,
We'd bargain for a prize;
Coral, shells, and blow-fish, dried,
And fruit, and Guava jell,
And nuts, and gum, and dried snake hide
And lace, and tortoise shell
Then 'twas "Gotta nice ripa banan,
You buy da beeg orange? He sweet!
Gotta cirgarette; lika da fan?
You lika da fine parakeet?"

No, you may have your gilded shops,
Their tinsel and their glare;
The scent of sandalwood, and hops,
And incense burning there;
Your money-changers, lottery sharks,
And sleek rug merchant's guise;
Your hounding guides around the parks
And curb stock broker's lies --
The bumboatmen are not the breed
That squat in Europe's mart,
They barter for their daily need --
Deceit is not their art.
If there's reward for toil and strife,
When comes the final summing,
In cheering up a sailor's life --
Bumboaters have it coming;
With their: "Gotta nice ripa banan,
You buy da beeg orange? He sweet!
Gotta cirgarette; lika da fan?
You lika da fine parakeet?"

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