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The Mariner

I see a face in front of me, a man so craggy and unshaved

And wonder to myself, how many memories he has saved?

A face that if we all think, we must know the type

A face so worn and lived in, sucking on a pipe


He was sitting on a quayside, looking out to sea

In his eyes I could see, a warmth and humility

An old oilskin hat covered his head and ears

His hands strong, rough and chaliced, sea damaged over the years


He told me a story, of how as a young boy

As a galley boy, a ships master did employ

He left school at an early age, sacrificed his education and learning

Making a new life, on the sea that he was yearning


Swapping his schoolbooks, for a compass and nautical charts

Traveling to exotic parts, leaving a string of broken hearts

The sea was his classroom, the ships ways he soon learned

He swore that he would be a master mariner, when he returned 


His eyes were gleaming, as his story he related

Recalling his years as a young man, his words sometimes exited

He spoke of a girl, that had once captured his heart

And how his years at sea had kept them apart


A girl from Durham, the true love of his life

A girl who loved the arts, who he dreamt of as his wife

A ravishing beauty, with eyes of blue and long blonde hair

Eyes as blue as the sea, and when he slept, he dreamed of her


He wiped away a tear, as his story I embraced

Of how when he closed his eyes, all he could see was her face

A face that he kept in his heart, for all those years

A face that kept him going, through those many lonely years


He spoke of the time

When returned to the Port of Tyne

After years of travelling the seven seas

And the sight that he thought he would never see


For standing there

Was this beauty, with the long blonde hair

Crying, as her child was going to sea

A mirror image of the sailor, that before me I see!

Copyright Ralph Jones

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