This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Saturday Rave: The Ship by Ira Gershwin.

The lyrics to this song have been called sentimental, unrelieved by wit, tangled, uninvented and cloying.

And that was just by one person, Philip Furia.

But, you know something? I don't care. Because if there is anything more sumptuous than this it would involve a couch of cloud-stuffed velvet and a barrel of whipped cream.

The music for Ira Gershwin's words was written by Kurt Weill for Moss Hart's play Lady in the Dark. It was first performed by Gertrude Lawrence in New York in 1941.

My ship has sails that are made of silk,
The decks are trimmed with gold,
And of jam and spice there's a paradise in the hold.

My ship's aglow with a million pearls
And rubies fill each bin,
The sun sits high in a sapphire sky when my ship comes in.

I can wait the years
Till it appears
One fine day one spring,
But the pearls and such
They won't mean much if there's missing just one thing.

I do not care if that day arrives
That dream need never be,
If the ship I sing doesn't also bring
My own true love to me,
If the ship I sing doesn't also bring my own true love to me.

Okay, okay, perhaps I admit the sentimentality. But what's wrong with a bit of sentimentality from time to time?

One note: the third stanza originally began I can wait for years, but Gertrude Lawrence asked why four, and not three or five? And so the lyric was changed.

A great man, Ira Gershwin.

This is the wonderful Dawn Upshaw's version of the song.

Word To Use Today: sail. This word comes from the Old English segl.


  1. Love this song....but cannot find an email for this web I'll play the song and hope you can send it to me! The email address, not the song. Which I've got and thanks very much for it...good start to the day!

    1. Luckily any comment here is conveyed by the pixel pixies directly into by inbox, Adele.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the song. It's really worth a listen, that one.