Mary Lou



I've known seas tall as Himalayas while I wuz belaying
the brig's sails off Cape Horn, frozen as hard as iron.

Mary Lou, with frost-bit fingers, I have dreamed of you.
Aye, my sweet darling, my one true love, my Mary Lou.

We quit the Salthouse Dock; you in your shawl I still see,
tears in my eyes as we unfurled our sails in the Mersey.

Since leaving, such things I've seen! Tropic bights like gas!
Alas, 'tis true: oceans of temptation, where I've fallen, lass.

Sinister ports in Hell I've survived, leering devil-men, too.
Nightmares I've had -- I thought I'd never sail back to you.

Aye, I have braved the Sunda Trench, the Malacca Strait,
while hoping beyond praying that for me you would wait.

I am in a fever; I do not deserve your affection -- this I know:
the sea serpents, shark's teeth torment me where 'ere I go.

Yet, still I long to be with you in the streets of our old town.
Old Liverpool calls to me just as you do: you are all I own.

But forgive me, Mary Lou. I am but a weak and humble man.
The sea is in my bones, my blood -- it makes me what I am.

By Christopher T. George