Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PICTURES, by CICELY FOX SMITH

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PICTURES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Some likes pictures o' women,' said bill, 'an' some likes 'orses best'
Last Line: "you paint me a ship as is like a ship . . . An' that'll do for me!'"
Subject(s): Sea; Ships & Shipping; Ocean

"SOME likes pictures o' women," said Bill, "an' some likes 'orses best,"
As he fitted a pair of fancy shackles on to his old sea chest,
"But I likes picturs o' ships," said he, "an' you can keep the rest.

"An' if I was a ruddy millionaire with dollars to burn that way,
Instead of a dead-broke sailorman as never saves his pay,
I'd go to some big paintin' guy, an' this is what I'd say:

"'Paint me the Cutty Sark,' I'd say, 'or the old Thermopylae,
Or the Star o' Peace as I sailed in once in my young days at sea,
Shipshape and Blackwall fashion, too, as a clipper ought to be. . . .

"'An' you might do 'er outward bound, with a sky full o' clouds,
An' the tug just dropping astern, an' gulls flyin' in crowds,
An' the decks shiny-wet with rain, an' the wind shakin' the shrouds. . . .

"'Or else racin' up Channel with a sou'wester blow in',
Stuns'ls set aloft and alow, an' a hoist o' flags showin',
An' a white bone between her teeth so's you can see she's goin'. . . .

"'Or you might do 'er off Cape Stiff, in the high latitudes yonder,
With 'er main deck a smother of white, an' her lee-rail dippin' under,
An' the big greybeards racin' by an' breakin' aboard like thunder. . . .

"'Or I'd like old Tuskar somewheres abound . . . or Sydney 'Eads maybe . . .
Or a couple o' junks, if she's tradin' East, to show it's the China Sea . . .
Or Bar Light . . . or the Tail o' the Bank . . . or a glimp o' Circular Quay.

"'An' I don't want no dabs o' paint as you can't tell what they are,
Whether they're shadders, or fellers' faces, or blocks, or blobs o' tar,
But I want gear as looks like gear, an' a spar that's like a spar.

"'An' I don't care if it's North or South, the Trades or the China Sea,
Shortened down or everything set -- close-hauled or runnin' free --
You paint me a ship as is like a ship . . . an' that'll do for me!'"

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