A bit of doggerel I wrote back in 1963 celebrating our Mediterranean adventure. Thirteen young Americans in the teens and twenties (mostly from California colleges, one amazing Swede and one East Indian), an English Skipper and his pal, Gawain. A month aboard The Wigeon of Fearn, Gentleman’s Motor Launch built in 1936 and served in WWII in North Sea for 71st Anti-Submarine Group. Only 6 berths, the rest of us slept on deck. Swam into ports to save docking fees. Voted on whether to move on each day. Visited Cannes, Nice, Portofino, Viarregio, inland by train to Florence and Rome, sailed again from Ostia (Rome’s port) on terrifying 10-hour crossing in mistral storm to Porto Vecchio, then around the tip of Corsica to Bonifacio. Stranded there 5 days by the relentless storm. Tried to sneak two Foreign Legionnaires, who said they had been shanghaied in Marseille, off the island. Even though we failed, they gave us the gift of a beautiful engraved Corsican dagger as a thank you for trying. Corsica never left my mind and now this adventure in part of the back story of MOTHER TONGUE.
The Wige of Fearn
In days of yore when knights were bold
And tales of maidens fair were told,
There ne’er was such a gallant group
As now reclines upon our poop.
Beneath the sultry sun we lurk
Exchanging vows to never work.
Draped on deck twixt bow and stern.
To grace the sturdy Wige of Fearn.
We hail from far exotic lands
Where palm trees bend to sun-bleached sands,
We’ve come to find a rest away
From lying on the beach all day.
You see us standing fore and aft
As cooling breezes gently waft,
Our bods unclothed to catch the rays,
These surely are the golden days.
Our mighty yacht is slightly stout,
And sometimes damper in than out,
But e’er undaunted sail we on,
To reach our destiny by dawn.
Our wine is red, our whiskey straight,
Our hour of arisal late,
Our blood is blue, our hearts are pure,
The gravest seas we can endure.
Each here has seen his hour pass
While sitting on his bloody ass,
And yet no sorrows tarry long,
For always there’s our battle song.
Our lives are filled with varied vice,
And each decides what will suffice,
To make of life a ribald game,
And bring, instead of fortune, fame.
And thus into each port we glide
Upon a high and happy tide.
In rain or shine, in gale or lee,
No finer ship has sailed the sea.