> Danny Spooner > Songs > Dark Old Waters

Dark Old Waters

[Gordon Bok]

Gordon Bok wrote Dark Old Waters in 1992 “for the film documentary of the short life of the schooner John F. Leavitt, by the Atlantic Film Company. It’s two ways of looking at the birth of a sailing vessel.” He recorded it on the Bok, Muir, and Trickett albums First Fifteen Years Vol. II and and Water Over Stone.

Danny Spooner sang The Dark Old Waters in 2002 on his album Launch Out on the Deep and in 2014 on Sailor’s Consolation. He noted:

Boat-builders are a unique group of people and the depth of their feelings for their craft and their creations can appear, at times, in the words of Kipling, “beyond the love of women”. This song was written by Gordon Bok, and was given to me by an American singer Roz Brown. Over the years I’ve sort of Englished it.


Gordon Bok sings Dark Old Waters

Don’t be thinking of me,
    All away and alone,
On the rolling old sea,
    On the foreign ground,
For I laid your keel and that’s dandy for me
    On the dark old waters, all alone.
    Where you go, go well, and a fair wind home.

Don’t be thinking of me on the rolling old sea
For I raised your frame and that’s bully for me.

And where will you go with your rail dipping low?
And where you may wander there’s none can know.

Don’t be thinking of me on the rolling old sea,
For I hung your canvas and sent you to sea.

And where will you be when the winter comes nigh?
And where will you be when I’m thinking of thee?

And how stands the wind? Will he come as a friend
And keep you from dangers that lie off the land?

And how stand the stars
    All away and alone,
In the whispering dawn?
    On the foreign ground,
May they guide you and bless you and the seas sail you on.
    On the dark old waters, all alone.
    Oh hey, oh ho, heave an oar and go.

Oh where will you bide at the end of your ride,
And who’ll sing you songs when I’m not at your side?