Poem © Rudyard Kipling (1865-1935)
Music © 1980 Bob Zentz
Gordon – 12-string guitar
Lukannon (Lucannon) was once one of the greatest seal rookeries in the world; it’s in the Aleutian Islands. Gooverooska is an old Russian word for kittiwake (a small seabird). Kipling wrote this early in the 20th century.
I met my mates in the morning (and oh, but I am old!)
Where roaring on the ledges the summer ground-swell rolled
I heard them lift the chorus that drowned the breakers’ song –
The Beaches of Lukannon, two million voices strong.
The song of pleasant stations beside the salt lagoons,
The song of blowing squadrons that shuffled down the dunes—
The song of midnight dances that churned the swell to flame—
The Beaches of Lukannon – before the sealers came!
I met my mates in the morning (I’ll never meet them more!)
They came and went in legions that darkened all the shore.
And o’er the foam-flecked offing as far as voice could reach
We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up the beach.
The Beaches of Lukannon — the winter-wheat so tall,
The dripping crinkled lichens, and the sea-fog drenching all!
The platforms of our playground, all shining smooth and worn!
The beaches of Lukannon – the home where we were born!
I met my mates in the morning, a broken, scattered band,
Men shoot us in the water and club us on the land,
Men drive us to the Salt House like silly sheep and tame
And still we sing Lukannon – before the sealers came.
Wheel down, wheel down to Southward – Oh, Gooverooska go!
And tell the Deep Sea Viceroys the story of our woe.
Ere, empty as the sharks-egg the tempest flings ashore,
The Beaches of Lukannon shall know their sons no more!