Birkenhead Rose

On a dark December night, as the fog fell on the Mersey,
There’s a Russian sailor stepped upon the shore;
To the port of Birkenhead he’d just made his maiden voyage,
To the foreign parts where he’d never been before.
In a dark street by the docks, she was there and laid in waiting
For the sailormen with money passing by,
And the Russian’s footsteps led to the Rose of Birkenhead,
When a movement in the shadows caught his eye.
Chorus: And it’s Rose on the quay, with her skirts above her knee,
And a lovesick Russian sailor boy, sailing on the sea;
And it’s Rose on his mind, though his love is frail and blind,
On the dockside streets of Birkenhead, his heart is left behind.

In the lamplight’s dusky glow, she looked like some golden angel,
And his heart it missed a beat to see her there,
And he quickly quite forgot his old * babushka’s* warning,
With the girls in foreign parts to take great care.
Then a wild night on the town, with the liquor freely flowing,
Besotted and beguiled by all her charms;
Though his money all got spent, still it left him well content
With the joys that he’d found in Rose’s arms.

Then commotion on the quay, next morning early dawning,
As the Russian ship sets sail for Murmansk Bay;
And the young man sadly stares as the quaysides fade behind him,
Never heeding what the other sailors say.
“She’s just a dockyard tart, you’d better very soon forget her,
In every port of call there’s more of those . . . “
(But) he can’t see his heart’s delight with another man tonight,
And he dreams that one day he’ll marry Rose.

© Bob Watson 1992


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