Homeward Bound

poem by D.H. Rogers music John Broomhall APRA

 

Roger Ilott and Penny Davies of Queensland, Australia, sent this song (and many others) in trade for royalties. The pictures ring true to the waters and vessels I've seen, and it speaks well of the trust sailors gave the old vessels, no matter how hard set they were. I deliberately changed only one line: "When we've dropped the deep-sea pilot o'er the rail." I know we "drop the tugs" and I'll take the "deep-sea pilot" on faith (not having sailed in Australian waters), but with the exception of certain "State Pilots," dropping the chap over the rail still seems a bit harsh. G.B.

 

G: cellamba C: 12-string and heave

They will take us from the moorings

They will tow us down the Bay

They will pluck us up to windward when we sail.

We shall hear the keen wind whistle

We shall fee the sting of spray

When we've dropped the deep-sea pilot o'er the rail.

Then it's Johnnie heave an' start her

Then it's Johnnie roll and go

When the mates have picked the watches

There is little rest for Jack.

But we'll raise the good old chanty

That the Homeward Bounders know

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

In the dusty streets and dismal

Through the noises of the town

We can hear the West wind humming through the shrouds;

We can see the lightning leaping

When the tropic suns go down

And the dapple of the shadows of the clouds.

And the salt blood dances in us

To the tune of Homeward Bound.

To the call to weary watches

To the sheet and to the tack.

When they bid us man the capstan

How the hands will walk her round!

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

Through the sunshine of the tropics

Round the bleak and dreary Horn

Half across the little planet lies our way

We shall leave the land behind us

Like a welcome that's outworn

When we see the reeling mastheads swing and sway.

Through the weather fair or storm

In the calm and in the gale

We shall heave and haul to help her

We shall hold her on her track
And you'll hear the chorus rolling

When the hands are making sail

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

 

 

Homeward Bound is recorded on the album Neighbors