The Coho


 © David Watts

Victoria winter 1996


Tune: I once loved a lass

In the mists of the Olympics a silvery gleam

Streaks red, shimmers white, as if in a dream

Cross Juan de Fuca she cuts through the stream

The Coho takes aim at Victoria.


For a third of a century she’s steamed twenty miles

Port Angeles’ link to Vancouver’s green isle

Cross-stitching two countries, a border with style

And bringing their peoples together.


Her lines they are simple, her beam broad and low

Her spaces are ample inside and below

With a record untarnished and a name people know

She serves with a quiet distinction.


Of the fleet of the Black Ball she’s last of a line

Of red and white ferries that each served their time

The Chinook and Quileut and Smokwa remind us

Of the totems and tribes of the elders.


The princes, princesses have all had their day

They came to the capital, faded away

The Coho alone still returns to James Bay

As trusty and true as the Empress.


Her whistle is sounded, her lines they go slack

The pier falls away as her bow inches back

A plume of exhaust rises over her stack

As she points her prow back to the ocean.


Victoria fades in the wake to her stern

The light of Port Angeles twinkle and burn

Tales of two cities on the Strait ebb and yearn

And await the return of the Coho.