Songs & Poetry

Blow the wind southerly – Kathleen Ferrier

English folk song made famous by Kathleen Ferrier and much played at Alex’s home.
[See: Post of Sep 27, 2005: All were lost]

Listen on YouTube:

Omar Khaiyyam’s Dawn

In the log of 29th April, 2005, Alex was waxing fairly lyrical about their surroundings and came up with most of the first line of Dawn as being appropriate to the situation. Having a limited library, he expressed the desire “wish I could remember it all”. He received a couple of responses and this is one of them (I’m assuming that the copyright ran out a while ago!):

AWAKE! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

Dreaming when Dawn’s Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
“Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life’s Liquor in its Cup be dry.”

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

“How sweet is mortal Sovranty!”–think some:
Others–“How blest the Paradise to come!”
Ah, take the Cash in hand and wave the Rest;
Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!

‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Galaxy Song

Alex has often referred to the stars in the logs and, in the log of 7th May, 2005, Alex started to get a bit specific about why this, why that and how much of the other. As always, the readers were on to it in a flash. Malcom C provided a couple of very informative answers that are incorporated in the Log. Fiona S was a bit lateral in her response and provided the words to the Galaxy Song from the Meaning of Life.Warning: This has the potential to become a significant earworm – read at your own risk :-)

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,

And you feel that you’ve had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine thousand miles an hour.
It’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
‘Round the sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at fourteen thousand miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred million stars;
It’s a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it’s just three thousand light-years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go ’round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.


Our universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, that’s the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!

(The Meaning Of Life, paroles et musique d’Eric Idle)

Oz Sea Shanty

From Malcom C (with apologies to Banjo) on the eve of Berri’s arrival in Falmouth.

Once two jolly sailors sailed upon the briny sea,
Under the shade of a worn ‘n torn sail,
And they drank and they drank as they waited for the Lizard Light,
Toasting Berrimilla with fast dwindling ale.

Sailing Berrimilla, sailing Berrmilla, Who’ll come a sailing Berrimilla with us.
And they drank and they drank as they waited for the Lizard Light
Who’ll come a sailing Berrimilla with us.

They tapped into the rumcask, for’rd of the dunny space.
Pint after pint they sank at quite a steady pace,
They drank and they drank as they sailed on past the mannacles
Thank god for self steering to get us into port

Sailing, Berrimilla etc

Up rode the customs riding on their zodiac,
On climbed the agents one, two three,
Where’s that bloody rumcask you’ve got in the f’ward hold,
You’ll come a sailing to Falmouth, you’ll see,

Sailing, Berrimila, Sailing Berrimilla, etc etc

Up jumped the sailors and pissed into the harbour mouth
You’ll never take us sober, you’ll see.
And they drank and they drank to finish off the contraband,
Up comes their mooring, their last day at sea.

Sailing Berrimilla, Sailing Berrimilla,
We’ve been a’sailing Berrimilla o’er the sea,
Sydney to Cape Horn, northwards to the polar star.
We’ve been a’sailing Berrimila at sea.

Contributed by Ian of Chatham in the UK – In the log of 30th October 2005

With apologies to all poets, past and present!!

Down in the Southern ocean with seas so steep
Battles Berri onward while landlubbers sleep
Waves crash down from as high as the mast
And the crew want to know how long it will last

A consultation or two with the doctor each day
Help these two old farts stagger on their way
Not for this pair are the slippers and pipe
Should I bid for their t-shirt using Hammersnipe?

They beat to the north to escape the worst
But it doesn’t work, this ploy of theirs
For the examiner hears of it and scuppers the plan
And orders more waves, then speeds up the fan

But “How did ‘he’ know?” ask the wily old pair
The answer is behind them, up in the air!
Old alby glides by all pink in the light
And reports back to ‘him’ what’s in his sight

The examiner laughs, there’s a glint in his eye
And the bomb doors are opened as alby flies by
They jink to the left and then the right
But it’s too late now, Kevvo’s covered in shite

It gets worse each day, can they take much more
For it’s still a long way to the old barn door
The folks at home read the sitreps each day
While the old farts onboard begin to pray

And it’s not over yet for while the duo heave to
The examiner plans more than a knockdown or two
Over she goes, to one twenty or more
Gear flying about to land on the floor

But Alex writes on during this terrible spell
For this old sailor has much to tell
Stories of Merlin – defunct, dead, deceased
Lost sandals and glasses on their journey east

Jammed at the table by elbows and knees
Squinting to hit one in three right keys
Pete wedged in the bog, a little unsure
Shouts that this wasn’t in the bloody brochure

And wet socks are the order of the day
For the ferals have eaten the boots away
The doctor’s on ration, this isn’t a jest
The stock is depleted in the medicine chest

Water cannot be made without wrigglies we hear tell
And the genny and solar panel are both shot to hell
The tinnies in the eski have rusted away
Someone should have given them a monthly spray

Wet party gear on to change sail once more
As Berri is nearing the elusive barn door
Then at last, it’s here, they are finally through
And their shout can be heard……