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  • RAY EVANS

Jumble Sail (Or a Bunch of Immigrants)


Jumble Sail (Or a Bunch of Immigrants)

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they went to sea. In spite of the odds On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day, In a Sieve they went to sea! And when the Sieve turned round and round and every one cried, ‘We'll all be drowned! for this Sieve ain’t big, but they don't care a button! they don’t care a fig! In a Sieve we'll go to sea'

Far and few, far and few are the lands where the immigrants live; Their heads are covered, their hands are empty and they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,

In a Sieve they sailed so fast, With a hope in hell and a worn out tale and a bloodied flag by way of a sail, all tied to a barbed wire mast And everyone said, who saw them go, ‘O won’t they be upset, you know! For the sky is dark, the voyage long and happen what may, it’s extremely wrong in a Sieve to sail so fast!’

Far and few, far and few are the lands where the immigrants live; Their heads are covered, their hands are empty and they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did, The water it soon came in; So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet in a promissory note all folded neat and they fastened it down with a pin. They passed a long cold night under dark dark stars and each of them said, 'How foolish we are, what a mess we're in The sky is black, the voyage long, yet we never can think of where we belong while round in our Sieve we spin!’

Far and few, far and few are the lands where the immigrants live: Their heads are covered, their hands are empty and they went to sea in a Sieve.

All day long they sailed away and when the sun went down they each one sang a mournful song for the souls of those who drowned. And all night long under a moon so pale the people cried, the children wailed for runcible spoons and ring bo ree in the shade of the mountains brown

Far and few, far and few are the lands where the immigrants live; Their heads are covered, their hands are empty and they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did, To the hills of the Western shore and some were found upon the rocks without a name or clothes to their backs, so they put them into plastic sacks two by two by four. The women were told you must be useful, you must learn our tongue or you can't stay here for very long

Far and few, far and few

are the lands where the immigrants live;

Their heads are covered, their hands are empty

and they went to sea in a Sieve.

It took them lifetimes to cross the sea. Twenty lifetimes or more. And a politician said, Oh please don't complain, oh please don't moan! you're safe in the jungle, why it's just like home. You won't be a burden, you won't be a chore, you can't claim benefits for four years or more They slapped each other's backs and said 'We would never go to sea in a Sieve Why who would think to leave this beautiful town where we dine on quince and slices of mince in the shade of the mountains brown?'

Far and few, far and few are the lands where the immigrants live; Their heads are covered, their hands are empty and they went to sea in a Sieve

Ray Evans is a poet whose work has appeared in many anthologies. He has two published collections of poetry, Drinking Bright Liquor and The Last Red Telephone Box and is preparing a third, The Apothecary's Hand, for publication in 2018. Ray was the last Poet Laureate of the iconic Scotia Bar in Glasgow. He is also a very fine photographer whose work is on many pages of the Dove Tales website. https://www.facebook.com/ray.evans.77

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