Poems what I had to learn !

16th January 2012, 22:08
As Ernie Wise would have wrote.
Some of these do seem very appropriate this week. Those with good memorys will know you had to be able to recite them when called upon. At 16 I took the business seriously, those of a certain age will see that although it looks like a mistake in fact it isnt - answers on a postcard.

Two Steam ships meeting
When all three light I see ahead
I port my helm and show my red

Two Steam ships passing
Green to green or red to red
perfectly safe - go ahead

A good lookout
Both in safety and in doubt
I always keep a sharp lookout
In danger and with no room to turn
I ease her - stop her - go astern

Two steam ships crossing
If to my starboard red appear
tis my duty to keep clear
Act as judgement says is proper
port or starboard, back or stop her
But when upon my port is seen
a steamers starboard light of green
for me theres nought to do but see
that green to port keeps clear of me

Robert Hilton
16th January 2012, 22:18
I read these as Thomas Gray's (or Grey's) aids to memory. They were helpful, but we were required to learn the Rules parrot fashion as quoting them in a seamanshio oral was supposed to be the way to flummox the examiner.

There also exists a number of parodies, such as:

If both lights you see ahead,
Leave the wheel and go to bed.

16th January 2012, 23:39
If a red you see in front,
Full ahead and ram the ........

(Learned from a young plumber. Now not so young).

17th January 2012, 00:10
Upon my beam a submarine
The biggest ******* I've ever seen
and on my bow another cow.....
Said be a Mate as we steamed through a submarine exercise area near Portland.

26th August 2015, 14:12
There's a steamer bound for London and she'd sitting Pretty low,
And here upperworks are dazzling white between the twilight glow,
You can hear her engines thumping as she rolls her way along,
With the wheeling of seagulls o'er her in a screeching squawking song.

She is bearing home a cargo from orchards of the Cape,
There are peaches, plums, and nectarines of every size and shape,
And bunches of the sweetest grapes that England's ever seen,
And they'll soon be selling freely in the streets of Turnham Green.

There's a willing crew aboard her, with their faces tanned and brown and one of them is singing and grinning like a clown.
There's a steamer's wake behind her and a still expance before,
and she's almost out of vision from the gleaming distant shore.

Oh she'll steam along in moonlight soon ,her portholes gold like stars,
She'll be amongst the sunset with it's flaming crimson bars.
She'll greet the radiant dawn with an extra turn of speed,
and ride the grey white horses whether or not she need.

She'll be burnt and blistered by the sun, and salt sprayed by the sea,
But she'll be the same old steamer to the likes of you and me......

26th August 2015, 16:38
If two red lights are seen ahead,
It only means the Captain's dead.


China hand
27th August 2015, 19:02
When in danger or in doubt
Run in circles, scream and shout

But in more recent times:

If on your port bow is seen
A steamers starboard light of green
There is not much for you to do:
For he will shortly get on the VHF and say:
Ship on my starboard bow, what are you doing?

27th August 2015, 22:40
The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck...?


John Rogers
27th August 2015, 23:59
Was on the good ship Venus....

28th August 2015, 18:10
All the nice girls love the candle.

Barrie Youde
28th August 2015, 18:18

This is good stuff, IGW. Did you write it? There is clear rhythm, rhyme and graphic description.

The kindest advice ever given to me in the matter of writing verse was, "Never stop." I can but pass it on.

Best wishes,


28th August 2015, 20:29
When I was a skivvy at the Royal Rock Hotel
Emptying the pisspots and answering the bell
Along came a sailor, a sailor from the sea
And that was the start, of all my misery.

He asked for a candle to light his way to bed
He asked for a pillow to rest his weary head
And I being innocent and thinking it no harm
Jumped in beside him to keep the bugger warm

Early next morning when he and I awoke
He fished in his pocket and handed me a note
“Take this my darling, for all the harm I’ve done
If it be a daughter or if it be a son

If it be daughter then bounce her on your knee
If it be a son send the bugger off to sea
Bell bottom trousers and a suit of navy blue
And make him climb the rigging
As I have climbed up you.

This and Maggie May etc were the songs/poems of long ago.
(Please don't burn our toilet down was another )

28th August 2015, 21:51
Hi Sidsal, that brought back some memories!


28th August 2015, 22:52
Yachtsmans Creed

If white be seen twixt red and green
Neither give way nor stand on
But reverse your craft
Inflate your raft
And prepare to abandon

China hand
29th August 2015, 18:56
The Dublinners do quite a good version.

Farmer John
29th August 2015, 21:41
"I upped with the p1sspot
and hit him on the head,
Saying "Take that you dirty bugg3r
for sh4gging me in bed""

Should fit in there somewhere.