Fa – the Green Dragon

A Place for the Odd Musings of an Expat Bristolian



When I was footloose and fancy free

I had an urge to go to sea.

But in truth a ship I could not find

I had read about the Golden Hind.

The only ship that lay at anchor

The owner a local merchant banker.

She was the good ship Walrus

Just as well you did not see us

A motley crew that was quite true

But our hearts were keen and our fears were few.

Some press-ganged from too much ale

Consigned for now to help her sail,

And follow on the breeze

Bound to the west and open seas.

First our heading north through the Irish Sea and past the Mull of Kintyre.

Through lightning and heavy rain I saw St. Elmo’s fire.

A good omen I was told, to see a ship aglow

Old sailors taking in the storm as just another show.

Captain Yarman spoke to us next day

To explain how we would earn our pay.

You work in watches by the bell.

What that meant was hard to tell.

Then spoke the Bo ‘sun a sullen fellow

But beneath his gruff he seemed quite mellow.

Stay sober, be on time and that was it.

Oh! Be clean and always stow your kit.

Leave nothing loose below these decks

The surest way to break your necks

When the seas run high you mark my word

Never tell me you never heard.

That night was ever northward

Towards the midnight sun

And then as the dawn was breaking

We steered for our westward run.

Bound for the Cayman Islands and Montego Bay

Rum at Aunt Jema’ah’s place,

And while the ship was lading a little time to stray.

Those were good days, sailing on the tide.

But some years later my heart was claimed

For now I had a bride.

Her blood ran hot with cayenne spice

And I a land lubber in a trice.

Set now to growing vegetables

And digging in my plot

No longer footloose nor fancy free

Only to dream of days at sea.

The nights when in my hammock swung

Rolling with the waves

And in between the swells I thought

What have I learned in life, what lessons has it taught?

A list counted in my mind.

The most important I could find:

Never forget your passion.

Live life clean and tidy.

Ship shape and Bristol fashion.


Author: Cethru Cellophane

I have reached the regrettable realization that I may have squandered my life. I did a quick count recently and figured that I have visited about 66 countries, and lived for more than 3 years in 3 of them. During this time I completed 14 corporate moves (relocations) and have changed my address more than 23 times. I should have settled on a profession that would have kept me in one place with no packing and unpacking. When I think of the time I have spent bundling my life into and out of boxes. Ah well, it's all water under the bridge. But I am grateful for the experience. At the end of the day I will be able to say with a certain authority, "been there, done that". A note about this site’s Header Image The Header image for this site is of the Smith Avenue High Bridge. The bridge was built in 1889 and carries Minnesota State Highway 149 across its span of 2770 feet, 160 feet above the mighty Mississippi River. The picture was taken from the river looking to the north-east and downtown Saint Paul. The bridge is about 1040 miles from New Orleans. One of the reasons I like this view is that I come from a city which has a spectacular bridge. It’s the Clifton Suspension Bridge http://www.ikbrunel.org.uk/clifton-suspension-bridge which spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon in Bristol, U.K. It’s about 1350 feet long and stands 245 feet above the river below. Sadly it has claimed the lives of more than 400 people who have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. As a side note, not all attempts were successful. two small girls thrown off the bridge by their deranged father survived the fall when they were fished from the river by the crew of a passing pilot boat. The bridge was opened in 1864 and was designed by the 24 year old architect, Isambard Kingdom brunel. It took 35 years to complete.

9 thoughts on “Footloose

  1. Ship shape and Bristol fashion. Very good.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. one of these days that old saying might change to something like Street smart with Bristol’s art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I admire the longevity of your poems, very clever, great read 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful story and rhyming. I the summing up of your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Left out a word. I liked the summing up……..

    Liked by 1 person

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