Stan Rogers: The Mary Ellen Carter

Bastet and I had a comment conversation about the sea, and I mentioned Stan Rogers, an incredible wordsmith, story teller and musician. He left behind a legacy of amazing songs. I told Bastet that my favourite was The Mary Ellen Carter. The lyrics to the song are below. The bolded section at the end, to me, is one of the strongest anthems of hope and rebirth.

The Mary Ellen Carter

She went down last October in a pouring driving rain.

The skipper, he’d been drinking and the Mate, he felt no pain.

Too close to Three Mile Rock, and she was dealt her mortal blow,

And the Mary Ellen Carter settled low.

There were five of us aboard her when she finally was awash.

We’d worked like hell to save her, all heedless of the cost.

And the groan she gave as she went down, it caused us to proclaim

That the Mary Ellen Carter would rise again.

Well, the owners wrote her off; not a nickel would they spend.

She gave twenty years of service, boys, then met her sorry end.

But insurance paid the loss to them, they let her rest below.

Then they laughed at us and said we had to go.

But we talked of her all winter, some days around the clock,

For she’s worth a quarter million, afloat and at the dock.

And with every jar that hit the bar, we swore we would remain

And make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.

Rise again, rise again!

That her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.

Those who loved her best and were with her till the end

Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

All spring, now, we’ve been with her on a barge lent by a friend.

Three dives a day in hard hat suit and twice I’ve had the bends.

Thank God it’s only sixty feet and the currents here are slow

Or I’d never have the strength to go below.

But we’ve patched her rents, stopped her vents, dogged hatch and porthole down.

Put cables to her, ‘fore and aft and girded her around.

Tomorrow, noon, we hit the air and then take up the strain.

And watch the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.

For we couldn’t leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale.

She’d saved our lives so many times, living through the gale

And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave

They won’t be laughing in another day.

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow.

With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go.

Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain

And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!

Rise again, rise again!

Though your heart it be broken and life about to end

No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,

Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!


3 thoughts on “Stan Rogers: The Mary Ellen Carter

    • phylor February 8, 2015 / 5:58 am

      His music is so good. And his lyrics always read like a poem. I’m glad you enjoyed it!


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