Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 10 2010-02-15T17:57:00Z 2010-02-15T17:57:00Z 2 289 1650 Timberhead 13 3 2026 9.6926

Song for the Bowdoin

            Words & Music by Larry Kaplan; © 1976 Hannah Lane Music, BMI


            The schooner Bowdoin, built for Donald MacMillan, made 26 trips to the arctic.  Retired to Mystic seaport, she was brought back to Camden in the 1960s.  Larry made a song about her (which T.B.M. still sings) called "John", about Capt. John Nugent, who lived aboard her many years and was mostly the one who kept her alive in those hard times.  She recently returned to the Labrador under Capt. Andy Chase where children of  the original inhabitants there visited her with great joy, fulfilling Larry's vision of her so many years ago.

            Larry's version and mine have diverged over the years.  You may hear his singing of this and may others on a Folk Legacy album – coming soon.


            You sailed the cold waters f the great Northern Bays

            The ice in your rigging and your rail in the waves

            And the snow in your canvas like a winter-gull's wing

            Oh, Lord, all the times you've been through.


            And now you've got hard times and now you lie still

            And you're fast to the anchor and chain

            Broken and tired and the winds pass you by

            But you're bound to go sailing again.


            You sailed out of Boothbay on the soft Southern swell

            Wind on your quarter, your bows rose and fell

            So many remember so much more than they'll tell (sic)

            of the hardest of times you've been through.


            Greenland and Baffin and the white Labrador

            In the winds and the terrible snow

            When they carried their icepicks just to bring you about

            In the light from the lantern below.


            And now…


            So rest, lady, rest from the fog and the gales,

            Let the harbor protect you and the wind dry your sails

            And a hundred old sailors tell their foggiest tales

            Of all the hard times you've been through.


            And we'll see your masts mingle with the spruces and pines

            And we'll bow as we all pass you by

            for a boat is more patient than a sailor can be

            With the sun and the wind in his eye…


            And now…

Song for the Bowdoin is recorded on the album Schooners