Watched the compass chase its tail like a cat at play—
That was on the "Bolivar," south across the Bay.
Once we saw between the squalls, lyin' head to swell—
Mad with work and weariness, wishin' they was we—
Some damned Liner's lights go by like a grand hotel;
Cheered her from the "Bolivar," swampin' in the sea.
Then a greyback cleared us out, then the skipper laughed;
"Boys, the wheel has gone to Hell—rig the winches aft!
"Yoke the kicking rudder-head—get her under way!"
So we steered her, pulley-haul, out across the Bay!
In we came, an' time enough 'cross Bilbao Bar.
Just a pack o' rotten plates puttied up with tar,