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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JWB Origins: Homeward Bound (from Gordon Bok) (10) Lyr Add: HOMEWARD BOUND (D. H. Rogers/J Broomhall) 27 May 04

A fair amount of searching both the DT, Forum and other web sources has turned up nothing on this fine poem that's been made into a song. I've only seen it on Gordon Bok and Cindy Kallet's CD "Neighbors". In the notes Gordon says he received it as a royalty payment from an Australian, and that the lyrics are a poem by D.H. Rogers, with a tune created by John Broomhall.

I'm very interested in learning about the author, composer and history of the piece.

Here's the Bok version:

They will take us from the moorings, they will tow us down the bay,
They will pluck us up to windward when we sail.
We shall hear the keen wind whistle, we shall feel the sting of spray
When we've seen the deep sea pilot o'er the rail.
Then it's "Johnny, heave and start 'er!" and it's "Johnny, roll and go!"
When the mates have picked the watches there is little rest for Jack.
But we'll raise the good old chantey that the homeward bounders know,
For the girls have got the tow rope and they're hauling in the slack.

In the dusty streets and dismal, through the noises of the town
We can hear the west wind humming through the shrouds.
We can see the lightning leaping as the tropic suns go down,
And the dapple of the shadows of the clouds.
And the salt blood dances in us to the tune of Homeward Bound,
To the call to weary watches, to the sheet and to the tack.
When they bid us man the capstan how the hands will walk her 'round
For the girls have got the tow rope and they're hauling in the slack.

Through the sunshine of the tropics, 'round the bleak and dreary Horn
Half across this windy planet lies our way.
We will leave the land behind us like a welcome that's outworn
When we see the reeling mastheads swing and sway.
Through the weather fair and stormy, in the calm and in the gale,
We will heave and haul to help her, we will keep her on her track.
And we'll hear the chorus rolling as the hands are making sail,
For the girls have got the tow rope and they're hauling in the slack.



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