When I was a child we sailed every summer for two weeks. We had a small boat called the Dandelion named for those bright yellow weeds that set down roots wherever the wind takes them. My brother slept on the starboard side and I slept port side. In the day when the wind was good and the Dandelion was humming along at a good clip my father used to sing this song.
The line I remember is “it’s not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,” and the way his voice would lilt upwards on grieves, and the twinkle in his eye as he looked at me, his hand on the tiller, his face turned towards the prow. My father is English, he moved to the states with my mother when he was 32. He learned this song as a young merchant marine sailing around the world. I’m not sure what all it means to him or why he loved singing it so much, but I loved it then and I love it even more now, now that I’ve loved and left places and people and found myself a home wherever I’ve landed.