LIVERPOOL BAY - words by John E. M. Sumner, music by Stewart Hendrickson
sung by Stewart Hendrickson

The strong salt winds at Liverpool
That sweep across the Bay
Once brought the great proud ships of old
With teak from Mandalay, 
With bars of gold from lands untold, 
With cloves from Zanzibar, 
With tea and jute from Chittagong 
And rubber from Para; 
Trim figurehead and snowy sail,
Tall mast and taper’d spar, 
A rhythmic shanty from the waist, 
The smell of Stockholm tar. 

Whilst yet the fog bells clang and drone
And eyes are tired and red
With peering over weather cloths
To see what looms ahead;
Or Summer shakes her train of gold
And dawn breaks slow, supreme,
With funnels red and funnels white
Reflected in the stream;
The times have changed on Merseyside,
The years have travell'd on,
And ugly ducklings plough and sheer
Where once there sailed a swan.

Safe anchored in a landlocked bay,
Washed by some river cool,
They lie at rest in fairer ports
Than even Liverpool;
Forgotten, garland'd with mist and fog
They drowse at anchor there,
Whilst crews of bearded sailormen
Patrol each deck and stare;
Borne faintly on an eerie wind
There goes a bosun's call,
Scraping as dim yards come around,
The clacking of a pall.

Then idly, these tall ships will turn
And hearken to the breeze
That whispers in the ghostly shrouds
Of days remote from these;
Remembering weeks of driving sleet
And high seas round the Horn,
And little islands, silver rimmed,
Where mollymawks are born;
Recalling long, cool, fragrant nights
Beneath a Southern moon;
The Rio Grande or Shenandoah
To a concertinas tune.

Yet often, just before the dawn,
They see in dreams afar
The glimmer of the Crosby Light
And rain across the Bar.

The lyrics are from a poem by John E. M. Sumner as collected by Hugh Brown (“All I can recall is an older gentleman sent me a copy from the Liverpool area some time back when I was searching for "tree" info on my grandfather (also from that area). I would think Mr Sumner is probably from that area.”). The tune was added by Stewart Hendrickson, © 2002.

"It was written by my father under the title 'Requiescat in Pace' and published locally in the 1950s - the content being self-evident. Liverpool Bay gives it wider appeal and good to see that it has made its way to the US. Yes, apart from my father and myself, previous generations were nearly all 'merchantmen' sailing out of Liverpool. I have for thirty years sailed recreationally." Alan Sumner, Oct. 18, 2011