Original poem by
Burt Franklin Jenness

Printable version

MP3 Sample

Sea Dreams

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
from OCEAN HAUNTS, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
Empire Publishing Co., New York, US, 1934, pp. 45-47.

Adapted and musically arranged by Charlie Ipcar 7/20/07

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Have you ever stood the midwatch in the cavern of the night,
With the sea wolves racing past you in a pack;
The steely stars a-playing 'round the masthead for a light,
And the bucking trades disposed to drive you back?
Have you ever seen a sunset on a copper colored sea,
The sky just like a polished compass bowl;
Seen the night winds catch the spindrift from the waves and toss it free
Till to leeward you could see a silvery shoal?

Chorus:
Now the wind has shifted eastward, the long green rollers call,
And a brown-skinned gal beckons there for me;
The starboard watch is yarning, and I'm longing for it all
For any ship to take me back to sea;
For any ship to take me back to sea.

Have you ever rode at anchor while a full tropic moon,
Slowly rose above its jungle bed;
Dripping silver in the waters of a coral-fringed lagoon,
Till it hung there like a shining capstan head?
Have you heard the Roaring Forties, day and night about your ears,
And cursed your packet's ceaseless, sickening roll
With the backstays all complaining and the groaning of the gears?
Then you'll understand the fretting in my soul.

(Chorus)

If you've cleared the reefs of Suva, and have sighted Sydney Head;
If you've raised the Sugar Loaf at break of dawn;
If you've made Corrigador, and have swung the sounding lead
In the channels of the world where you have gone;
If you've cruised with rowdy shipmates, heard them curse and brawl;
If you know the seas from Rio to Hong Kong;
If you've loafed about the waterfronts of every port of call
Then you'll understand the burden of my song.

(Chorus)



Extra verse (3)
Have you heard the screws a-whining when the ship was cruising light,
Or the scuppers gurgle back the weather seas?
Have you tailed behind a typhoon in a hellish running fight,
And felt your oil-skins freeze about your knees?
Have you heard the crack of head seas, and felt the flooding hull,
Or the stern go heaving skyward till she raced?
Have you seen her ship the green ones till she shook just like a gull,
As a river ran athwart-ships at her waist?
(Chorus)

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Sea Dreams

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
From OCEAN HAUNTS, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
Empire Publishing Co., New York, US, 1934, pp 45-47.

If you've ever stood a midwatch in the cavern of the night,
With the sea wolves racing past you in a pack;
With the steely star a-playing 'round the mastheads for a light,
And the bucking trades possessed to drive you back;
If you've ever seen a sunset on a copper colored sea,
When the sky was like a polished compass bowl;
And the night winds caught the spindrift from the waves and tossed it free
Till to leeward you could see a silvery shoal.

If you've ever read your compass by a fulling tropic moon,
As it slowly rose above its jungle bed;
Dripping silver in the waters of a coral-fringed lagoon,
Till it hung there like a shining capstan head;
If you've heard the whining Forties day and night about your ears,
And have cursed your packet's ceaseless, sickening roll
With the backstays all complaining and the creaking of the gears,
Then you'll understand the fretting in my soul.

For the wind has shifted east'r'd, and the long green rollers call,
And a brown-skinned lass is beckoning to me;
The starb'r'd watch is yarning, and I'm longing for it all
So it's any wind'll take me back to sea.

If you've heard the screws a-grumbling when the craft was cruising light
Or the scuppers gurgle back the weather seas;
If you've tailed behind a typhoon in a hellish running fight,
And have felt your oil-skins freeze about your knees;
If you've heard the crack of head seas, and have felt the settling hull
Or the stern go heaving skyward till she raced;
If you've seen her take the green ones till she quivered like a gull,
And a river ran athwart-ships at her waist.

If you've cleared the reefs of Suva, and have sighted Sydney head;
If you've lifted Sugar Loaf just after dawn;
If you've made Corrigador, and have swung the sounding lead
In the channels of the world where you have gone;
If you've cruised with lousy shipmates, and have heard them curse and brawl;
If you know the seas from Rio to Hong Kong;
If you've loafed about the waterfronts of every port of call
Then you'll understand the burden of my song.

Oh, the wind has shifted east'r'd, and the long green rollers call,
And a brown-skinned lass is beckoning to me;
The starb'r'd watch is yarning and I'm longing for it all,
So it's any wind'll take me back to sea.

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