Shantyman

Now modern ships carry mighty funny gear,
And away, get away, you shantyman.
Ain’t seen a halyard in many’s a year,
An’ they got no use for a shantyman.
Slick new fittings are all you’ll sight,
And away, get away, you shantyman.
All very clever, but it just ain’t right;
Ch. An’ they got no use for a shantyman.
Shantyman, oh, shantyman,
Who’s got a berth for a shantyman?
Sing us a song of a world gone wrong,
When they got no use for a shantyman.

Dials and Buttons is all they need
And your real live sailor he’s a vanishing breed;
Pushing on the buttons and pullin’ on the levers
And they got no use for horny-handed heavers.

Soon they’ll be sailing by remote control,
An’ that’ll be pleasing to the owners’ soul;
They’ll move their ships from dock to dock,
All sat upon their arses in an office block.

New-fangled gear’s no use to you
When you’re off Cape Horn with your fuses blew;
Then’s the time for to curse the day
You sent your shantyman away.

Old-time ways are forgotten and gone,
For no-one listens to a shantyman’s song.
Things no longer as they used to be;
It’s the knacker’s yard for you and me.

Listen at night and you might hear
A ghostly sound on the quiet air;
Is it a ghost from the distant past,
Or just a breeze in the radar mast?

© Bob Watson 1984

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