We Built This Old Ship

Words and Music: Jim Stewart and Gordon Bok


Jim Stewart of St John NB released his thundering great epic "The Marco Polo Suite" in 1992 about that famous ship from the same town.  My wife Carol and I helped in the original production and recording and I helped with the assembly of this particular song.  (GB)


We gathered the tamarack, oak, birch and pine

We took from the forest and took to the shore

And we gave her her strength and her breath and her line

With the skills we had learned from our fathers before


We worked in the rain and the heat and the cold

We cursed and rejoiced in our pride and our pain

And we never imagined our hands would grow old

And her like on the water we'd not see again



We built this old ship with our sweat and endeavor

She ran with the wind and the wind set her free

And we once dared to dream she would sail on forever

But although she was ours she belonged to the sea


There's more in her making than canvas and wood

More in her leaving than going away

And maybe we loved her much more than we should

For a part of us left when she sailed from the bay


And will those that she carries to each far off place

Remember her song when the voyage is done

Will the empty horizon still carry a trace

When the rocks break her heart or she's too old to run




Will there be a monument held by each wave

Will the gulls sing a dirge as they circle above

When the length of the sky at last marks her grave

Will her name be remembered with wonder and love


For they say that a new age soon will beset us

Their engines and boilers will soon rule the day

And the time will arrive when time will forget us

Like the sawdust around us we'll all blow away



We Built This Old Ship is recorded on Harbors of Home and on Jim Stewart's album The Marco Polo Suite