Watch soothing waves roll past a ship’s porthole

Did you know Eliot (who was multilingual) originally wrote that in French?

From memory (i.e. with bugs)
"Phlébas le Phénicien, pendant quinze jours noyé
Oubliait les cris des mouettes et la houle de Cornouaille
Et les profites et les pertes, et son cargaison d’étain…"

I thought the original much better because it puts things in context, placing it off Cornwall and carrying tin. However…We can’t have élitism like that. In the new post-truth era we must have Freedom Poetry, not French Poetry.


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield


The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but he had fled -


Spike Milligan

Or another variant I recall from schooldays:

“The boy stood on the burning deck,
Playing a game of cricket,
The ball rolled up his trouser leg,
And stumped his middle wicket”


The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but he had fled,
And when the flames had burned his feet
He stood upon his head.
-Anon, or possibly my father, from whom I heard it.


When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin’
Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya
At seven pm a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it’s been good t’know ya


This was my cabin:

No porthole and it’s quite disorientating to wake up with some swell and everything shaking.

Also, needs more dolphins.

If I hadn’t been engaged when I made the decision, I’d have stayed on ships and been a marine engineer rather than a linguist.

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Oh, you were that guy.

Which guy? That was where they put me when I joined. Deck department at the bow, engine room in the midships area. Later on I was one of the firemen and stayed closer to the centre, near the main fire station.

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Hang in there, retirement is right around the corner.

Sorry, it’s late and I’m slow – but I’ll probably wake up at 3am and get the reference. :wink:


Get some shut-eye, you’ll be good as new.

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