Cisco Houston Web Site

National Geographic

Songs & Sounds of the Sea


Images from the LP

Hardy seamen who had tasted the rigors of life before the mast yearned for something more than the poet's "tall ship and a star to steer her by" -- a snug berth at home would be just the thing, as a matter of fact. But if that were out of the question, they would settle for less: steady winds to get them to where they were going and home again, calm seas to ease the passage, a fair master, a light-handed mate, and a charitable cook. Include a recurring fo'c'sle dream: an unscheduled stop at a palm-studded volcanic isle, where luscious fruits dangled from every branch, where golden-skinned maidens with flashing black eyes and teeth like pearls came racing through the foamy surf to greet the bearded gods from the cloud ship...

The fo'c'sle tales weren't all bilge water -- the islands were there, scattered like jewels about the Pacific, and many indeed were lush with tropical fruits and raven haired beauties. But the clipper sailors were late upon the scene; civilization had touched the islands too many years before for the dream to come true, even if the hard-driving skipper allowed so romantic a port of call. Still, in the dreary confinement below decks, after months at sea, and icy gale and steaming calm, the dream died hard.


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