smile on, sailor

  • On pirate radio, melodies heaven-made,

    surfing songs apprentice-amour obeyed:

    bespectacled kid with quite crooked teeth,

    harmonic swoon sang, sunny self-belief:

    healed by harmonies, West Coast hymns

    •  never mind surfin’, I couldn’t even swim!


    Organ tremelo, tambourine jangle mixed,

    hip-idyllic love lyrics, this boy transfixed;

    blond-fringed boy smile, sang accapella,

    all surrounded, sugar-sweet Cinderellas;

    oh lucky lads, hope for gawk-kid yet –

    let me be the roadie, I’ll  catch next jet.


    California-dreaming on Irish wintry day,

    cold waves unwelcoming, skies dull grey;

    haloed-harmonies, an escape from abuse,

    your father harmed, so flimsy his excuse:

    your pudgy cheek felt the back of hand

    a domineering dad, manipulating man…


    God only knows, apple-hidden worm,

    *your father refused to love and affirm:

    no helping hand, storm battered boat:

    pushy mariner, couldn’t keep you afloat;

    saved from swell by tough-loving wife

    – smile on, battered sailor – savour life.




    *  Brian recalled his father: “He was the one who got us going. He didn’t make us better artists or musicians, but he gave us ambition. I’m pleased he pushed us, because it was such a relief to know there was someone as strong as my dad to keep things going. He used to spank us, and it hurt too, but I loved him because he was a great musician

    image: Blues Hunter @streetSinger9


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