Martin Newell’s increasingly acclaimed quartet poem The Song of the Waterlily – the building of a boat has been set to music and recorded by Martin and local band The Hosepipe Band, together with another poem Black Shuck, telling the story of an ancient ‘black dog’ legend.
The Song of the Waterlily describes the building and proving of a traditional Essex deep-sea fishing smack through the eyes of a young shipwright, who helps a master shipwright to construct the boat.
It follows the progress of the Waterlily, from launching and naming, her first regatta, and her first North Sea storm…
“I am The Keel, therefore the king,
For me, the adze and whetstone sing…
And hewn from woodland oak so tall,
Take precedence above you all.”
There’s a sample of the recording on the band page linked above.
Martin’s poem was inspired by the restoration of The Pioneer – a similar boat rebuilt at Brightlingsea by the Pioneer Sailing Trust, an organisation which takes on apprentices and trains them in boat-building skills.
A book of The Song of the Waterlily illustrated by artist James Dodds (see him talk about The Pioneer rebuilding here) is published by Jardine Press.
These YouTube clips make up a film about the Wivenhoe shipwright-turned-artist-and-book-publisher James Dodds, and includes material about the deep sea smack Pioneer, which was rescued from the mud and rebuilt in the town.
It’s striking to see the state she was in when the work began, and to compare that with the proud and smart vessel she is today (see some recent shots in this gallery of photos).
I wasn’t previously of the story of the Wildman of Orford, but it was great to find out about it. I must learn more – and there’s a bit more here.
My thanks to Otis Luxton for leading me to this one!