"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words. " ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ferry Connections

A HOUSE WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Ferry Cross the Mersey with Grandpa ~ Sam, Ron, Ben ~ Summer 1999

Ferry Cross the Mersey by John Haslam
as seen in the Crosby Herald

Ferry Cross the Mersey
(click to hear tune)

Life goes on day after day
Hearts torn in every way
So ferry cross the Mersey
'Cause this land's the place I love
And here I'll stay

People they rush everywhere
Each with their own secret care
So ferry cross the Mersey
And always take me there
The place I love

People around every corner
They seem to smile and say
We don't care what your name is boy
We'll never turn you away

So I'll continue to say
Here I always will stay
So ferry cross the Mersey
'Cause this land's the place I love
And here I'll stay
And here I'll stay
Here I'll stay


1960s hit in the UK & the USA
by Gerry and the Pacemakers
1983 cover by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Needlecraft by Abacus Designs

Almost as enchanting as fairies at bottom of your garden is the adventure of riding a ferry boat, a magical crossing to a new shore of possibility. In addition to the romantic Mersey Ferry in Liverpool, the poets have also found great romance in the Staten Island Ferry and the Brooklyn Ferry.

The Staten Island Ferry is featured in the movie Working Girl, along with Carly Simon's inspiring hit:

Let the River Run
(click to hear tune)

We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
let all the dreamers
wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Silver cities rise,
the morning lights
the streets that meet them,
and sirens call them on
with a song.

It's asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

We the great and small
stand on a star
and blaze a trail of desire
through the dark'ning dawn.

It's asking for the taking.
Come run with me now,
the sky is the color of blue
you've never even seen
in the eyes of your lover.

Oh, my heart is aching.
We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

It's asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.
We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
let all the dreamers
wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.


Music and lyrics by Carly Simon
American singer, songwriter, musician

Sixty years before Simon's song, American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay captured the charm of the Staten Island Ferry in her poem "Recuerdo," about two light - hearted lovers and a kindly mysterious stranger who enters their life briefly on the ferry:

Recuerdo
(set to music by American composer John Musto)
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.


by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1901)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923

Recuerdo
-- I remember.

Millay remembers this night of innocent joy and hopeful recklessness. Who needs money! Right? Walt Whitman too remembers -- and foretells. The lyrics of Millay, Simon, and the Pacemakers seem to have been predicted already in Whitman's triumphant description of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," in 1856:

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose . . .

The similitudes of the past, and those of the future . . .

What is it, then, between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?"


To the passenger crossing the Mersey who sees the "People . . . rush everywhere / each with their own secret care," Whitman says, "Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd." To the "sons and daughters" of Carly Simon's song, the dreamers whose hearts are aching, Whitman says, "I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me." To Millay's lovers, who watched the sun rise, "dripping, a bucketful of gold," Whitman says, "I too many and many a time cross’d the river, the sun half an hour high . . . the glistening yellow."

For Whitman, the ferry boat is a microcosm of all that has been, all that is, all that is yet to come. Reading the twentieth century verses of the writers who have joined with Whitman in praise of the ferry, it seems that he was right: "Fifty years hence . . . A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence . . . Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood."

quoted passages from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
by Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
American poet, essayist, journalist, humanist

We gave her all our apples; we gave her all our pears . . .~ Combined McCartney Family Artistic Endeavor ~
acrylic on cardboard, late 1990's ~

Previous Posts Concerning Liverpool
Birds of Pray, August 14, 2009
Liver Building, Cunard Bldg, Port of Liverpool Bldg
(photographed from the Mersey Ferry)

Happy Batday, April 28, 2010
The Overhead Railway

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS FOR MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

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