The Ships of Yule

Original Text: 
Bliss Carman, Echoes from Vagabondia, 2nd edn. (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913), pp. 8-9. PS 8455 A7E33 Robarts Library.
1When I was just a little boy,
2Before I went to school,
3I had a fleet of forty sail
4I called the Ships of Yule;
5Of every rig, from rakish brig
9They used to go on trading trips
10Around the world for me,
11For though I had to stay on shore
12My heart was on the sea.
13They stopped at every port to call
14From Babylon to Rome,
15To load with all the lovely things
16We never had at home;
17With elephants and ivory
19And shells and silks and sandal-wood
20That sailor men admire;
22And squatty ginger-jars,
23And scented silver amulets
24From Indian bazaars;
26And monkeys from Ceylon,
28With painted dragons on;
29With cocoanuts from Zanzibar,
30And pines from Singapore;
31And when they had unloaded these
32They could go back for more.
33And even after I was big
34And had to go to school,
35My mind was often far away
36Aboard the Ships of Yule.


6] barkentine: three-masted sailing ship. Back to Line
7] Fundy: the Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia, whose tides are among the highest in the world. Back to Line
8] gunwales: upper edge of the boats' side. Back to Line
18] Tyre: former kingdom on the site of the city in Lebanon. Back to Line
21] Samarcand: city in former eastern Soviet Union. Back to Line
25] Port of Spain: city in Trinidad and Tobago. Back to Line
27] Pekin: Beijing, China. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.