The Wanderer


It was just after two on a May afternoon

In the year nineteen fifteen,

When the little Peel lugger near old Queenstown

Saw the end of an ocean queen ;

When the Germans, with all the fair play of the Hun

Made war on mother and wean.


The crew of the lugger, their mackerel caught,

Had landed their fish and gone back

To try for another haul ; such was their thought

When they sighted a liner on track.

‘Twas the doomed Lusitania, the enemy’s sport,

Defenceless and ripe for attack.


As they watched to their horror she shuddered and stood

A victim of ruthless design ;

A ship that was doing what every ship should,

Obeying the rules of her line.

But her life-work was ended and spelled was her rood ;

Of hate she became the first sign.


As they saw her begin to dip at the bows

And for her sea-burial prepare,

The skipper and crew did their efforts arouse

To take up the challenge and dare

All the might of the foe ; and that gallant Peel mouse

Pressed on with a hope and a prayer.


Then the proud ocean liner, four funnels erect,

Plunged silently into her grave,

But the little Peel lugger kept on to collect

Whom she could from the hungering wave

With no thought for herself ; naught of peril she recked,

But to offer compassion, and save.


On that May afternoon when the waters still rolled

And seethed as a cauldron when hot,

The little Peel lugger crammed full to her hold

A hundred and fifty the lot.

And whenever great stories of courage are told

The ‘Wanderer’ will ne’er be forgot.


Mona’s Herald 14.1.64