Cayo Hueso, the Spaniards named it,
The isle as dry as a bone;
Sometimes dozing peacefully,
Sometimes by hurricanes blown.
They left it as they found it then,
'Neath a lonely sky,
Where the tropic sun still burns
And the frigate birds fly.
But the British came, in time,
Then the United States,
And Yankee seamen built their port
Upon the Florida Straits.
It's where the Atlantic meets the Gulf,
And southward, Cuba lies;
The world lay right across the horizon,
Just beyond their eyes.
We're sailing down to old Key West,
Down the mangrove coast;
Sailing down to harbor there
'Long side a smuggler's ghost.
I'll show you round my old Key West,
She is a gracious host;
So pour the rum and sailors all,
Let us raise a toast
To Cayo Hueso, (to Cayo Hueso!)
To old Key West.
The pendent on an island necklace,
Gem of the Florida keys:
Gold and jade and amethyst,
Set in the turquoise seas.
Audubon had tarried there
And Papa Hemingway;
When I get back to old Key West
I'll be there to stay.
Stephen Brooke ©2009
A few fragmentary lines of this piece had sat in my notes for three years or so -- I'd had an idea of writing an 'historical' Florida song but wasn't exactly inspired. Considering the end result, perhaps I'm still not. It is pretty clumsy but I needed to get it out of my system (and my notes). Who knows whether it will have any further development? I know it's the sort of thing that I might be inclined to cannibalize for ideas later on.
Wed Evening: I thought I'd be putting this away for a while, maybe come back and see what I could do with it later, but I sat down this afternoon and in a few minutes managed to fix what I thought were the roughest spots (though it still needs work) and write out a little nautical-esque tune for it. So I'm half-way happy with it now!