20 November 2018



We’ll sing a song of Whitby town
And the years that have flown by
Waves pounding on the harbour walls
And the guillemot’s sad cry
Of nights we supped
In the old "Board Inn"
As North Sea winds blew hard
Then rolling home in the dark midnight
To rooms up Miller’s Yard.

We’ll sing a song of Caedmon
Just a cowherd so they say
Who charmed the monks and Hilda - she
Who drove the snakes away.
Of days we mended
Broken nets
As we gossiped on the quay
And gulls flew out to fishing boats
Returning from the sea.

We’ll sing a song of poor James Cook
And his ships all Whitby-made
From oaks that grew down by the Esk
May our memories never fade
Of the bold "Endeavour"
That sailed
Oceans unexplored
Red duster flapping from her mast
And Whitby lads onboard.

Yes, we’ll sing a song of Whitby town
And the people that we knew
That plied their trades and earned a crust
Down the alleys where they grew.
Just like the mighty harbour walls
That keep the town secure
With Viking blood
From Yorkshire roots
Their spirit shall endure.


  1. Wonderful. I really enjoyed that. My favourite line is "And Whitby lads onboard". One of your own creation I presume? Although it could be straight from an anthology. I know James Cook is one of your heroes. You have often mentioned it here. So when are you and Shirley going to voyage back down here? You must be due another circumnavigation.

    1. One day there will be another royal visit - not Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex but Prince Lee Sum and the Duchess of Home Baking. I wanted to get a reference to NZ in that poem but it didn't happen. If I never go again, I will always remember our walk to Cook's Cove near Gisborne.

  2. I can just imagine this being sung in an old Whitby pub.

    1. Put your left hand by your left ear, close your eyes and let rip Sue!

  3. Lovely writing, I enjoyed that! Now you can put it to music and sing it for us!

  4. Each one of your poems is better than the last, although this one by far the best this year. Feeling a little melancholy, are we? Really lovely.

    1. I just wanted to write a poem in praise of Whitby - conveying something of the magic of that place.

  5. The waterlogue app really enhances this post, you have a great eye.

    I was surprised by your rhyming of "quay" with "away". I guess that's what makes you a poet and me not

    1. No Kylie - "quay" (pronounced "key" in England) rhymes with "sea" not "away".

    2. lol! of course! I'm an idiot!

    3. So am I! Join the club!

  6. A wee sea shanty sung by the sea, I see.

    1. Lee rhymes with "sea"
      And "busy bee"
      And "cup of tea"

  7. That really needs a good old folksong tune! Excellent poem.


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