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Navy's In Dock

from Snaps by Harvey Andrews

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Mother often told of her Great Uncle Abraham, who terrorised the ladies of Erdington from his front gate. Retired from the sea, he hated dry land.


‘Watch for the sailor,’
Say frightened old ladies
He's terrorising the town
Handsome and sprightly though he's nearly ninety
He's never slowing down
The language he'll use when he's been on the booze
The stories he'd tell
Well, they'd never choose to listen
But sometimes they glance at their husbands and sigh
For an old salt sea-dog who winks
And gives them the eye

When we were in dock
We'd flock where the whores go in Rotterdam
In old navy blue
We'd drink to a new love with every dram
And the blousy hostesses in short frilly dresses
The young and old
They'd seen it before in peace and in war
They'd been bought and sold

And the bars never close till they've taken your money for rotgut booze
And your head hits the ground and the world's spinning round in a game you lose
And you cry out the pain but you shell out again for another glass
And you pray that the morning will come and the ache in your head will pass

The ladies display
Every day in the windows of Amsterdam
Whatever your dream
You're the cat with the cream when the shutters slam
And the guilt that you feel when you find it's not real
Is an old, old friend
And you say not again, well maybe, now and then
Will it never end?

My salt sailor days are a haze
There's a red light to show the way
When you're battered and bruised
You forget who abused you, that's yesterday
But here on the land with a glass in my hand
If a wish were mine
I'd be back on a ship and I'd take me a trip
To the good old time


from Snaps, released January 1, 1995


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Harvey Andrews Shropshire, UK

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