Calling for the Lifeboat

By George C Davidson.

MAYDAY, MAYDAY, Mayday, this is ‘Annie’, ‘Annie’, ‘Annie’,
Mayday, one mile south of Brandy More.
There’s a rope in my propeller and the bloody anchor’s dragging
And the wind and tide are setting me on shore.
I should have veered more cable, but now I’m quite unable
For reasons you could never hope to guess.
I find it hard to say how things came to be this way
But I’ve never ever been in such a mess.
When the rope went in the screw, there was nothing I could do;
I knocked her out of gear and tried astern;
But ever as I tried, the bloody engine died
And the shaft is quite impossible to turn.
The gland is leaking badly and I tried the pump but sadly
There wasn’t any water coming through.
I took the pipes asunder and found the fault – no wonder
For the valve was jammed wide open by a screw.
I tried to shift the thing with a wire and then with string
It wouldn’t budge and desperate at last
I poked it with my finger, and now till death I linger
With my index digit in the pump and FAST!
I’ve got communication for I’m trapped in a location
By the wheelhouse and the window’s open wide
The VHF is handy but the hacksaw and the brandy
Are miles away across the other side.
In utter desperation I’ve considered amputation
But with ‘Martell’ anaesthetic out of reach
And the saw I need is too, there’s nothing I can do
But pray that I’ll be washed up on the beach.
In the bilge the level’s rising at a rate that’s quite surprising
I can feel her lurch and wallow in the swell
And should poor Annie sink – the thought I dread to think –
When Annie goes Yours truly goes as well.
I’ve never shot an albatross – don’t even have a gun
Yet ‘Lady Luck’s’ abandoned me, but why?
The only slightly wicked thing I know that I have done
Was to make the Lifeboat lady pass me by.
I saw that Lifeboat lady with collecting box and flags
Here eyes alight – I knew that I’d been spied;
I hesitated, feigning I was fumbling for my fags
Then altered course across the other side.
Forgive me God, I realise the move I made was mean –
Not like me – I recall it with dismay.
If you could find it possible to scrub my record clean
I’ll keep it thus forever and a day.
I hear the lifeboat coming, I recognise the drumming
Of the diesels when they’re running out of synch.
Any moment now I know, they’ll board and rig a tow;
How they’ll free me from this pump I dread to think.
‘Silence Fini’, now it’s past. On the harbour wall at last,
I’m waiting to beach ‘Annie’ on the tide.
‘Mong the faces on the quay, there’s one that frightens me
Her eyes alight – I know that I’ve been spied.
At sea I wasn’t queasy, but now I’m damned uneasy;
Not the trauma not the prospect of a wreck,
Nor the very narrow shave – it’s the look THAT lady gave
And conscience like a millstone round my neck.