Down at the Fisherman’s Cottage
Down at the Fisherman’s Cottage,
By the sparkling Shanklin Bay,
A yarning of Storytellers
Is spinning the night away.
They call up stories of smugglers,
Especially One-eyed Jake,
Who walked the beach in the darkness,
With a lamp on a hawthorn stake.
It was at the turn of the century,
Not this century, but two before,
When the clippers sailed down the Solent,
And Jake took a stroll down the shore.
A neat-trimmed ship called the Argent
Was heading for Portsmouth Sound,
When Jake waved his stick with its lantern
And turned the sleek Argent round.
The night was sticky and foggy
And the captain couldn’t see right.
He took Jake’s rosy lantern
For the harbour’s red leading light.
But as he made for disaster,
The fog parted like a curtain.
And the captain realised his error.
He must check it. That was for certain.
He swung the rudder to starboard.
And his cargo and crew did save.
But it churned the sea and created
A giant tsunami wave!
Well, Jake never saw it coming.
His bad eye looked out to sea.
He’d always been kind of squeamish.
Never watched his skullduggery.
The beautiful beach at Shanklin
Became an almighty lake
And that was the final sighting
That anyone had of Jake.
They say, on a winter’s evening,
Around about half past nine,
You can just see a stick with a lantern
Disappearing beneath the brine.
©Ruth Twyman Lockyer May 2014