We sat in his living room staring at the fire
And watched as the sparks leapt from the grate, and the flames rose higher
It was hard for me to tell him it was time for me to leave
He said, "I didn't go see the world, I thought that it would come to me"
Pointing to the mantelpiece, he said, "Take that if you wish"
A dirty whisky jar that contained a wooden ship
"Your grandfather drained that bottle, and I put it to good use
Now it ties me to my yesterdays, I'd be better off to lose"
No use fighting when the wind's against the tide
Ship your oars, stow your sails, just enjoy the ride of your life
Or throw yourself on the mercy of the sea
Whatever you do, son, don't waste your time like me
He built it back in '33, just a young boy at the time
Back when the matchstick masts appeared to tower above the Clyde
Leaving school, real ships he built carried men and goods afar
To America and India, and in the '40s, to the war
His country didn't want him as his mates fell through wartorn skies
The rest, they joined the convoys, still he was too young to die
Now he can't even find his glasses, his hands shake too much, he knows
To break the bottle for himself and to let the memories go
Sitting on the mantelpiece, the bottle's gathered dust
While shipyards closed, their gates were locked, the chains begin to rust
He was tied down to his memories, forever in their debt
But I'll sail for clear blue waters and a life with no regrets