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Magic Shadow Shapes presents

"The time has come", the walrus said,
To talk of many things...
Of shoes and SHIPS
and sealing wax...of cabbages and kings"
And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings".


The Phantom Ships - I

Out of the Port of Halifax
On a dreary December day
The HMCS "Canada"
Slid silently on her way.

She was bound for active duty
On patrol in the Cabot Strait
With a crew of seasoned sailors
Who feared neither man nor fate.

Just about the midnight hour
Upon the third dark night,
As the graveyard watch was changing,
A ship hove into sight.

A mass of leaping flames was she,
So the "Canada" steamed on
To where they saw the blazing ship
Mirrored in the dawn.


As they neared the burning vessel,
With amazement the "Canada's crew
Saw an ancient ship - a "Man O War",
And under full-sail, too.

The "Canada" sped to her side,
But suddenly the night
Just swallowed up the phantom ship
And she disappeared from sight.



They beamed the searchlights all around
And patrolled the sea 'til dawn,
But the ship had simply vanished -
Not a sign of where she'd gone.

An elderly Petty Officer,
Who had spent his life at sea,
Growled, "'Twas only a ghost ship, maties;
Foul weather will follow, mark me!"

Next morning the waves roared high
In the throes of an easterly gale
And the "Canada" moved off
'Midst its angry, blustering wail.

O, they say that the phantom spirits
Of ships that cannot rest
Still appear from time to time,
As they follow their ghostly quest.

These stories originate with tales I heard from seafaring men when I was
growing up in Nova Scotia. They swore them to be true.

Phantom II

On the eastern Nova Scotia coast,
Down along the Sunrise Trail
By Amit Island and Wallace Bay
They used to tell this tale:

A grand new lighthouse had just been built
And a few of the old sailing men
Used to go down to play cards at night;
There wasn't much going on then.

This autumn night was clear and crisp,
And the evening wore quickly on;
At midnite, by the striking clock,
Most of the firewood was gone.

So Zeb went out to fetch some more,
Gone only a minute was he;
When they heard him yelling wildly,
"For God's Sake! Come and See!"

They all rushed out - and there she was,
A vessel under full sail,
Wreathed in flames - an awesome sight!
It's said they all turned pale.

For almost an hour they stood and watched,
Not a word did any man speak;
And then she faded into the mist,
As the dawn rose, cold and bleak.

Why didn't they call the Coast Guard?
Why didn't they ring the alarm?
Why did they simply stand in awe,
As if bound by a magic charm?

An easterly gale hit the coastline
The morning after she came.
And they say there's always a mighty storm
That follows the "ship of flame"

Schooner Man Schooner from "Schooner Man"
SeadogsMan O War from
"Yeolde Booke O'Seadogs"

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"Ghost Ships"
Design by
Firefly Productions

January 2000

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