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We’re in this backwater, stuck fast in the mud
And even the captain is baling.
The damage was great but the crew understood
That boats aren’t refloated by wailing.
From over the reeds the tall funnels slide by
Belching great paeans of smoke to the sky.
We’d like to give blasts on our horn in reply
But our boiler is wheezy and ailing.
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The diver’s been down and the hole’s been assessed
And we’re told that we’re no longer sinking.
The captain and officers seem to know best
And our faith in them’s strong and unblinking.
We know ‘twasn’t long since we feared we’d be drowned
When, in the dark eddies, the boat ran aground,
But the hull and the rudder seem structurally sound
And our fears are perceptibly shrinking.
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How long it will be till we get back on stream
Is a thought that continues to thwart us.
One year? Two? Or ten, till we build enough steam
To break out of these weed-strewn backwaters?
Or maybe we’re destined to spend all our days
In attempts to escape from this watery maze,
Sensing strange shadows ghost by through the haze,
Bemoaning where Fortune has brought us.