Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sunday Quotation

excerpt from


by John Masefield
1878 - 1967

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days.
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-wear and cheap tin trays.

photo Jeremy White


  1. hello friko - my grandma had a set of books filled with pictures and stories from the turn of the last century. pictures like this were a source of deep fascination to me as a young boy. now i read these words and see this picture, i feel the fascination coninues! thankyou for sharing this. steven

  2. It would be interesting to compare cargos in the bellies of ships these days, with the cargo list you have from back then.

  3. Oh, that is so cool looking! We have cargo ships coming in to Savannah all the time, but they surely don't look like that! Great photo!! Hugs, Silke

  4. Hi Friko

    My Great Great Grandfather was the Master of a Pilot's cutter on Southampton Water for about 40 years from 1880. What Masefield describes, would have been a common sight to him.

    Thanks for such an evocative post.

  5. Very environmentally - unfriendly with all that smoke, but much more interesting than container ships.
    You've done it again - turned the clock back for me. I remember learning that poem at school!

  6. This excerpt has echoes of bygone days when production was everything and consumption was minimum. When Britain had a pride of place in world manufacturing. Adorable quote. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  7. I remember this from school - we had to recite it until we were word perfect

  8. I don't think I ever heard that poem so it must be "the other side of the pond" kind of thing.

    Pollution started early, didn't it?

  9. Am somehow filled with the thought that life was truer, deeper, being able to spend time with what one did, back then.

  10. What an atmospheric picture that is. I have left you a message on my blog Friko.

  11. I love cargoes, one of my favourites. Quinqueremes (Sp?) of Nineva sound so wonderful
    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I am sure we will soon get to know each other. My October garden should appear by the end of the week if you are interested.

  12. Superb match of picture to verse, they each give something to the other.

  13. Both image and words give reason to pause. Well done!

  14. What a fantastic photo. And the quotation ... so many yummy consonants and lots of sibilance ... love it. Good exercise for the vocal organs, that one.

  15. steven - I'm glad I brought back memories

    Bonnie - I expect there'd still be cheap tin trays

    Silke - thank you for the compliment,

    Martin H - I'm glad you like it; you must have interesting family tales to tell.

    When I am Rich - fantastic rhythm, it just begs to be read out loud.

    A Cuban in London - Greetings to you, Cuban, lucky you.

    snailbeachshepherdess - do you still know it off by heart?

    Darlene - my goodness, it sure it did.

    robert - perhaps so.

    Twiglet - thanks, Twiglet, let's make a date

    Withy Brook - and the stately Spanish Galleons!

    Dave King - thank you, Dave

    Prospero - always was, always will be

    Rose Marie - thank you very much

    Fran Hill - Go on, read it out loud, you know you want to.

  16. Hi Friko! What a gritty evocative verse! And the photo is a perfect description! So real. btw, Moliere wrote in rhyming couplets in his French plays with rhymthic lines (don't recall exactly the meter). xxox

  17. Poor old Masefield is so unfashionable now that poems of real quality such as this (almost a proto-rap piece) seldom get an airing. Thanks on JM's behalf!

  18. I liked that - photo and poem. My great grandfather was a Cape Breton merchant sailor, lost at sea in the late 1890's. I don't know what his ship carried, aside from the passengers who perished with him.


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