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Dire Straits Single-Handed Sailor Lyrics

Last updated: 01/02/2014 05:11:44 AM

Two in the morning dry-dock town
The river rolls in the night
Little gypsy moth she's all tied down
She quiver in the wind and the light

Yeah and a sailing ship is just held down in chains
From the lazy days of sail
She's just a lying there in silent pain
He lean on the tourist rail

A mother and her baby and the college of war
In the concrete graves
You never wanna fight against the river law
Nobody rules the waves
Yeah and on a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
The single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark

He's upon the bridge on the self same night
The mariner of dry dock land
Two in the morning but there's one green light
And a man on a barge of sand

She's gonna slip away below him
Away from the things he's done
But he just shouts 'hey man what you call this thing'
He could have said 'Pride of London'
On a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
Yeah the single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark

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Single Handed Sailor - Misintrepted Song | Reviewer: Mike | 1/2/14

I've often seen people refer to this song as a homage to Francis Chichester. The reference to the Gypsy Moth (and the Cutty Sark) is just scene setting by Knopfler. The song is actually about a stowaway (the mother and her baby in the college of war) escaping an abusive relationship. The man they are escaping from being 'The mariner of dry-dock land' who happens to be 'up on the bridge on the self same night' as they 'slip away below him, away from the things he has done'.

The irony of the song is that the Single Handed Sailor isn't alone at all. The only question really is does he know she's on board?

Single-Handed Sailor | Reviewer: Jeffrey Day | 8/19/10

This song send chills … haunting imagery … an adventuresome thrill so evocative you can perceive the roiling black currents and the call of the sea. A masterpiece I've always gladly returned to for another listen.

Poetry | Reviewer: Charles G | 2/18/10

Few artists write music like this anymore - designed to move your heart and make you take a look at the world around you in a different way. There's a little bit of melancholy, a little romanticism, all mixed up with a beautifully haunting melody and a sublime use of the lead and bass guitar. It's better than folk music, better than rock, but it's a child of both. As much as I love Dire Straits, they never did anything before or since that I love as much as this song.

The Best on the album..... | Reviewer: Jon Bingham | 7/6/07

Today is all about, less and less true living. But we still cherish excellent music....And this track still, after all these years gives me so much gratifaction. So full of rock but so still horizontal.....