#01134
Lost Dorymates (The Sharecroppers) video
#2005: YouTube video by sharecroppermike
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

Frank and I were shipmates
aboard the Ella D,
Our ship was bound from Harbour Grace
heading out to sea;
The sails strained against the wind
as they billowed out to sky,
And I stood to stare at the empty glare
of the sea as it swept by.

When we reached the Banks we offered thanks
for the sea turned smooth and still;
As the sun came up it gave a glow
over our watery rill,
And watched us slip out from our ship
in a dory painted bright,
To where we'd lay and fish all day
until the fall of night.

But when the sun began to set
and darkness was drawing nigh,
I saw a black and fearsome sight
blotting out the sky;
For the fog rolled in and there it hung
like an evil coat of grey,
So Frank and I struck for our ship
several miles away.

We rowed like hell but still it fell,
foreboding and forlorn,
We prayed to hear upon our ear
the sounding of the horn;
But the wind came up with a frightening roar
which tossed us to and fro,
And waves turned white with a phosphorus light
that came from deep below.

It was weird to see and it frightened me
in the darkness and the rain,
But our will was strong as we rowed along
seeking our ship in vain;
On waves we hurled through a watery world
which tossed us up and down,
Through the gloom we peered and shook with fear,
praying we wouldn't drown.

Well six nights and days we dory lay
on an endless shifting sea,
But we never got sight of the welcome light
of our ship, the Ella D;
So with nothing to drink we couldn't think,
oh, the gods then had their way,
For when at last I looked at Frank
I knew he passed away.

His arms and legs were stiff as pegs,
his mouth had fallen slack,
The tears streaked down my salt-caked cheeks,
I swore I'd take him back;
In the boat I groped to find a rope,
then I trussed him to the side,
With eyes of the dead he gazed ahead
over the ocean wide.

With the seventh dawn, my strength near gone,
I knew that time would bring,
My whitened bones like driftwood sticks
tied with human string;
So I lay there weak in a fog so bleak,
I knew that I'd be dead,
But suddenly the fog did lift,
and land lay straight ahead.

'Twas the hand of fate which came too late
to save his life, just mine,
But as I gazed upon Frank's face
his eyes appeared to shine;
Then from the dead he spoke and said
as he stared straight up at me,
"You can rest wherever you like, my friend,
but bury me at sea.

"We've been shipmates for many a year
as we fought the sea and fate,
But I stayed on hand till you saw land
'cause I'm your dorymate;
So please leave me with the restless sea
to stay forevermore,
And know the salty ocean air
that's untainted by the shore."

So from our dory I rolled Frank
out into the briny deep,
And watched him go way down below
to his eternal sleep;
An east wind rose that instant
and the ocean set me free,
Its fight was done, we both had won
the hungry sea and me,
Its fight was done, they both were one -
my shipmate and the sea,
My shipmate and the sea.

####.... Adapted from a poem by "Ted" R Hennigar. Music composed and sung by Mike Madigan of The Sharecroppers (Performing rights administered by SOCAN. All rights reserved) ....####
Recorded by The Sharecroppers (This New Founde Lande, trk#12, ©1996 John Harvey Newman Publishing).

Notes by Mike Madigan: When I read this poem by Ted R Hennigar, I knew immediately I wanted to compose music for it. My friend Rex Stirling introduced me to this man's poetry and I knew it was dramatic enough to score. Thanks Rex. It's a true story, so I'm told, with an element of lore. Hope you enjoy it! And of course, thanks to Ed and Guy from our trio for their help and guidance with this song. We all take a share at a song brought to the Sharecropper table. So dear listener, please use earphones to hear the bowed bass I worked on for so many hours to get this right. Thanks to Ed for adding a bass track to keep the beat going. And thanks to Lee Sheppard for his special touch to the song. With earphones, this song still gives me the chills every time I hear it. How 'bout you?


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