The boy frae Lisnamore by Willie Laverty

The boy frae Lisnamore by Willie Laverty

My frien what made ye stummle on
This humble grev in Fairview lawn
Ir ye lukin for sombdy lang since gone
Or dae ye fin this tale romantic?
Maybe ye joost want tae know
What happened all thase years ago
The night the Titanic went below
In the icy north atlantic

Dae Crossgar folk min I come frae there?
Dae the crowds still rin tae the Wednesday fair?
Is the market hoose still stannin in the square?
Ach it’s a lang time since I left her
Daes the tren still rin that carried me
Awa frae Crossgar tae the sea?
Naw knowin’ what ley in front o me
Naw knowin’ whit I wis efter

At sixteen year an me sap still risin’
I went tae chase the far horizon
I foun’ me path whun a clapped me eyes on
Belfast docks a’ heavin’
I knowed I’d foun’ me wiy in life
Nae hoose for me, nor wain nor wife
Nae sowdgers musket, drum nor fife
The sea wud be me leevin’

I joined a ship an learned me irt
And served wi mony an awkward blirt
I shovelled coal an red up dirt
It was tough but niver too hard
I dane me job n drew me piy
Whit iver they aksed me I said aye
I grafted on an by n by
They ca’ed me a full steward

An then bae wurd o mooth a hard
a big new ship shane leein the yard
wis lukkin for men wi a sailors card
A took aff at a fair oul kilter
Whun I won me berth I fairly glowed
Tae yin an all it man hae showed
That boat was made by yins I knowed
And I come frae whor they built her

A sailor’s seen it a before
He’s crossed the briny ten times o’er
He’s stud on mony a distant shore
Australian, Greek, Hispanic
But nathin that I’d iver seen
And narry a place I’d iver been
Houl’d a cannle tae that majestic Queen
The RMS Titanic

The tenth O april came at last
An the passengers wur burdin’ fast
We lined the rels an watched them past
Thur eyes aflem wi wunner
The gangwi’s pulled bac tae the quay
The ropes cast aff an we wur free
The Titanic edged her wi tae sea
Her horn roared oot lake thunner

First tae France an then tae Cork
Queenstoon the last stap afore New York
Then I settled down tae dae me work
Servin drinks tae the rich an famous
Ah hae tae sey they wur dacent folk
They laked a yarn an crac’d a joke
An tased me aboot the wi I spoke
Afore misfortune overcame us

Four deys oot on a moonless night
Nae stars wur oot for guidin light
the first class lounge wus warm an bright
an they danced tae the music ple’in
We feel’d a wee shudder, nathin gret
Plates slid a bit frae whur they wur set
A drink or two spilled but naebdy got wet
We wunnered what they wur daein’

An then we feel’d her start tae slow
An shane the passengers lukked tae know
So I set aff fer doon below
Tae get some wurd tae please them
The officers a wur lukkin tense
A caught ip wi some suspense
Folk lukked tae me tae hear some sense
But I had nae wurds tae ease them

I made me wi tae the steerage stair
I couldnae tak in what met me there
Folk were rinnin iverywhere
Wains an men an weemen
I couldnae see what cass’d the din
What was makin all them people rin
But whun I tried tae go on in
There was enough watter there tae sweem in

This was the ship that couldnae sink
That’s what they’d got is a tae think
But I seen that watter, blac as ink
An I changed me wi o thinkin
I seen the wiy thon watter flowed
Ten years a sailor so I knowed
This thing wud only en yin road
The Titanic was surely sinkin

Abain is noo the bells wur ringin
I run tae whor the boats wur hingin
Yin bae yin we set them swingin
Wi as mony as we could heave in
plenty wurnae keen tae go
“this ship cannae sink ye know
we’re safer here than doon below”
some yins niver stapped believin

In that mad melee we dane oor best
But still tae come wus oor hardest test
When the last boat drapped we lukked at the rest
With a dreadful trepidation
They lukked tae is tae bring them hame
I cursed the sule o whaivers tae blame
I hung me heed in helpless shame
I cudnae offer them salvation

some yins stud wi vacant stare
ithers bowed their heeds in prayer
somebdy started singin there
Abide with me
but before anither hour was gone
All o is pre’d to see the dawn
An aye it’s true the band ple’d on
nearer my God to thee

Young lovers held their sweethearts tight
The lonely stared oot across the night
Mothers toul wains it would be alright
But the wee sules still were cryin
I wus kinna gled I was on my ain
Withoot a wife or mare, a wain
An nae wi for me tae aise their pain
There’d be nae comfort in this dyin

Tae see the eyes o a full grown man
Wi his two childer bae the han
An knowin’ full weel whor thur gan
Was lake being tae hell descended
I cannae luk him in the eye
I cannie tell thon man a lie
His wains an him an me will die
Afore this night is ended

The night was split by a powerfu crac
Oor stricken ship had broke her bac
The lights went oot an a went blac
My heart was fairly thumpin
I knowed the time was dra’in nigh
The aft end noo was risin high
My turn wus comin tae sae guidbye
All aroon me folk wur jumpin

In vain I stud but nae searchlight swep
Beside me a heartbroke lassie wep
I tuk her han an the gither we lep
An fell tae that ice coul water
The shock o hittin broke oor grip
I feel’d her han frae my han slip
The last young lass tae lee that ship
I prae the lifeboats got her

A droonin mans life rins afore his eyes
An he sees all o his truthes an lies
An haes time tae repent afore he dies
But that privilege forsook me
The icy coul that hut me there
Too much for ony man tae bear
I cudnae tak it onymare
An blacness overtuk me

My frien ye’re squaring up tae lee
But whativer grief ye might feel for me
I’m lying here an naw at sea
Ye could sae me fate was kinder
Twelve hunner mare they cudnae save
Wha left this world alow a wave
They’re lyin noo in a watery grave
Wi nae heedstane for reminder


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