SPANISH LADIES ( Words and Music by Paul F. Cowlan )

This dates back to a channel-crossing in August1975. Harwich to the Hook if I remember correctly.


Spanish Ladies, one was dark and one was fair.
Spanish ladies, in the darkness they were suddenly there.
Two Spanish ladies.

We were out in the heart of the water,
many long miles from land,
and words we spoke together
we could only just understand.
But it really made no difference,
there wasn’t that much to say;
we sat on deck with a small guitar
and sang the night away.
Me and the Spanish ladies.

And when the dawn began to break
and the stars were waning,
and the mist drew up from the water as we sang,
my Spanish ladies left me with a blanket
and went to rest before we reached the land.
And I talked and talked to a German boy I met there,
who told me of all the English girls he’d seen,
and I said that I thought that in any foreign country
any woman’s eyes are always a mystery.
And I thought of the Spanish ladies.

We saw in the early morning
a travelling beam of light
from a tower on a rocky island,
almost hidden out of sight;
and as the dawn was lifting,
seabirds in the sky
were white as the souls of mariners
drowned in the years gone by,
while sailing from the arms of Spanish ladies.

I’d sung them a song about Boots of Spanish Leather,
and I think they were sad when at last we said goodbye.
We stood on the quay in the light of a foreign morning
holding hands without really knowing why.
And the train moved on to Amsterdam,
and I will never see again
those Spanish ladies.

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