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Maritime term 'Mother Carey'

radriano 29 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM
Michael 29 Sep 03 - 06:33 PM
Edain 29 Sep 03 - 06:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Sep 03 - 06:49 PM
Noreen 29 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Sep 03 - 07:35 PM
kendall 29 Sep 03 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,MCP 29 Sep 03 - 07:40 PM
mack/misophist 29 Sep 03 - 11:54 PM
Anglo 30 Sep 03 - 12:38 PM
radriano 30 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM
Mr Red 30 Sep 03 - 05:38 PM
JWB 30 Sep 03 - 05:50 PM
GUEST, GEST 30 Sep 03 - 06:17 PM
radriano 30 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 03 - 10:10 PM
radriano 01 Oct 03 - 05:13 PM
Charley Noble 01 Oct 03 - 05:47 PM
Mr Red 01 Oct 03 - 06:25 PM
radriano 01 Oct 03 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,JWB sans cookie 01 Oct 03 - 10:52 PM
dick greenhaus 02 Oct 03 - 01:34 AM
radriano 02 Oct 03 - 11:44 AM
radriano 02 Oct 03 - 02:33 PM
JWB 02 Oct 03 - 04:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Oct 03 - 09:10 PM
JWB 03 Oct 03 - 09:31 AM
Charley Noble 03 Oct 03 - 09:33 AM
radriano 03 Oct 03 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,MMario 03 Oct 03 - 11:19 AM
Charley Noble 03 Oct 03 - 02:56 PM
radriano 06 Oct 03 - 11:34 AM
radriano 06 Oct 03 - 11:47 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Oct 03 - 12:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM
Charley Noble 06 Oct 03 - 05:37 PM
The Shambles 07 Oct 03 - 11:54 AM
The Shambles 07 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM
GUEST 08 Oct 03 - 11:14 AM
The Shambles 08 Oct 03 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Jaap 26 Aug 08 - 06:44 AM
Charley Noble 26 Aug 08 - 08:29 AM
wysiwyg 26 Aug 08 - 10:20 AM
Artful Codger 27 Aug 08 - 06:46 AM
Charley Noble 27 Aug 08 - 08:54 AM
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Subject: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM

I caught Tom Lewis' performance at Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco on Sept 27 and picked up a copy of his excellent CD "Tinker Tailor Soldier Singer!" One of the selections is "Mother Carey," a C.Fox Smith poem Tom set to music. I understand that Mother Carey is one of the mythological personages of the sea. Anyone have more information on this? I've not run across this term before.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Michael
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 06:33 PM

My Dad used to call seagulls 'Mother Carey's Chikcens'.
It doesn't explain - just addsto.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Edain
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 06:37 PM

If memory serves me correctly, Mother Carey was the wife (?) or some relation of Davy Jones


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 06:49 PM

Mater cara = Virgin Mary
Mother Carey's chickens- The stormy petrel, or any petrel.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Noreen
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 07:17 PM

As Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable reminds me,
Mother Carey's chickens (stormy petrels) are said to be the souls of dead sailors.

I've never heard of Mother Carey in any other context.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 07:35 PM

The Mater cara derivation is from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. I have my doubts- I think the connection is fortuitous. The American Heritage Dictionary has a number of questionable interpretations.

1767- The name applied to petrels by sailors. Carteret- In Hawkesworth's Voyage. OED.
In 1864, in the Athenaeum, it was defined as sailor's slang for snow. Also spelled Cary. Oxford English Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 07:39 PM

I sailed with a crazy guy from Prince Edward Island, and he called those birds the Newfoundland Airforce.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 07:40 PM

In the plural - Mother Carey's chickens - also was used for falling snow (nautical pre-1864)

Mother Carey's goose for the larges of the petrels.

My slang dictionary also says: "applied to faring alike and paying the same" (1820-50).

I seem to remember Peter Bellamy using it in a song, but can't remember in which. Something along the lines of Down to Mother Carey..",


Mick


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 29 Sep 03 - 11:54 PM

One of Robert Graves' fiction works Watch The North Wind Rise takes place in a pagan culture and there's some discussion of Mother Carey there. I wouldn't mention it except that he's considered an authoruty.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Anglo
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 12:38 PM

MCP's reference is to Peter's setting of Kipling's "Anchor Song," (which Tom Lewis has also recorded, as have many others such as …well, modesty forbids. :-)

The line is :

And we're off to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!)
Oh, we're bound for Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!

Anglo


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM

Thanks to all who responded to this. I also did some net surfing and found:

Mother Carey's Chickens is an alternate sailors name for storm petrels, and once in use there, has no doubt somehow also been transposed to another ship-following seabird, the Giant Petrel.
We do know, I thought , who Mother Carey was; it is a corruption of Mater Cara, one of the epithets of Maria, the mother of Christ, and as such often used by the Spanish and Portuguese sailors who were the first westerners in the southern seas.

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway
wim@imv.ut.no


And I also found this:

The First Hypertext Edition of The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
THE DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE BY E. COBHAM BREWER
FROM THE NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION OF 1894

Mother Carey's Chickens [are] stormy petrels. Mother Carey is Mater Cara. The French call these birds oiseaux de Notre Dame or aves Sanct&aeigh; Mariae. Chickens are the young of any fowl, or any small bird.
"They are called the `sailor's' friends, come to warn them of an approaching storm; and it is most unlucky to kill them. The legend is that each bird contains the soul of a dead seaman."

And this:

The legend of "Mother Carey" has a common Tracian foundation for all the South-Eastern European peoples, being also met throughout the Balkans. Our children's stage version shows Mother Carey as an old woman who was Turned into rocks, together with her flock of twenty sheep, as a punishment for defying god Gebeleisis, who was the master of changeable weather in Dacian mithology.

The legend is accompanied by the ol tradition of celebrating spring through the so-called "Mother Carey's Days" -the belief is that each of the seven days of Mother Carey's is a "foreseener" of good weather and good luck (or, on the contrary, it predicts bad weather and bad luck) for the one who chose it as "the day to be" a week before.
Mother Carey was a bad woman whose son got married agaist her will. On a cold winter day,in order to annoy her daughter -in-law,she gave her a black woolen ball and sent her to the river to wash the wool until it turned white.

The girl tried hard her fingers started to bleed,but the woolen ball wouldn't change its colour. She got desperate and started to cry.Just then a young man came up and gave her a red lower telling her to wash
the wool with it. The girl thanked him, put the flower into the water and the black woolen ball turned white.

A few days later Mother Carey sent the girl for wild strawberries into the woods and the young man helped her again. Thinking spring had come, the old woman set off to the mountaiton top taking her flock of twenty sheep with her. Warming herself, she took off,one by one,all her twelve waistcoats. But the weather was very changeable
at that time of year: it started to snow and everything got frozen. Mother Carey, the bad woman, together with flock froze, too, turning into rocks as the legend goes. In the Moldavian mountains there is a group of rocks named with Mother Carey' name (Docha).

I'm not sure where the last bit about the "Legend of Mother Carey" comes from.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 05:38 PM

I have heard a shanty singer of the calibre of Jim Magean (and it may very well have been he) who reckoned that in addition to the chickens=stromy petrels, Mother Carey was an affectionate term for a bigger bird - maybe an Albatross. I will see what Uncle Stan wrote on the subject and Willaim Main Doerflinger - I may be gone sometime.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: JWB
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 05:50 PM

Radriano,

I haven't heard Tom Lewis's song setting of C.F. Smith's poem, and haven't seen the poem either. I've heard a fellow named Tom Goux recite a poem about Mother Carey and her husband Davy Jones -- the piece is quite spine-tingling with references to a house on the sea floor made of sailors' bones and all.

Is that the type of stuff in the Smith poem?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST, GEST
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 06:17 PM

Try this entry from The Dictionary Of Newfoundland English


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM

Hi Jerry,

Nah, the song contents are different. Here's a transcription of what's on Tom's CD:

MOTHER CAREY
Tom Lewis, Tinker Tailor Soldier Singer (ASM104D)
Words by C.Fox Smith, melody by Tom Lewis


As late I went a-walking, a-walking by the sea
I thought I heard men talking, I heard them call to me
Oh, sorrow take the city streets, the weary city stones
'Tis time for you to leave them while the strength is in your bones
Shake her and wake her, Johnny, there's the ship for you
Lying in the Royal Roads waiting for a crew
And every brace and backstay is singing soft and low
Mother Carey wants us and we're all bound to go

Chorus:
Yes, we're all bound to go, Johnny, all bound to go
If it's late or early, lads, if you will or no
Sure as sun do rise, Johnny, sure as tides do flow
When Mother Carey wants us then we're all bound to go

As late I went a-walking, a-walking by the shore
I thought of ports I'd like to see I hadn't seen before
Across the strait the lighthouse kept winking fine and free
To show me where the road is that leads to open sea
Shake her and wake her, Johnny, yonder there she rides
Lying in the Royal Roads swinging at the tides
Singing to the muttering tides that past her cables flow
Mother Carey wants us and we're all bound to go

As late I went a-walking, a-walking by the tide
I thought m'love was with me and walking by m'side
So kind she did reproach me, so soft her eyes did shine
Yet could not hold beside her this restless heart of mine
Shake her and wake her, Johnny, can't you hear them calling
Out across the Royal Roads and the dusk a-falling
Time and time for me to leave you, though I love you so
Mother Carey wants us and we're all bound to go


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 10:10 PM

C.Fox Smith - didn't she write some great stuff? And outside the folkworld, virtually fogotten. Not a mention in the Oxford Companion to English Literature.

"Mater Cara" - that would tie in with Mary as the "Star of the Sea", a title used in several hymns.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 05:13 PM

Hey, Jerry, you don't happen to remember the name of that poem that Tom Goux recited, do you?

Anglo, nice to hear from you. I trust you are doing well? I keep thinking of a song I heard you doing at the last Hyde Street Pier Sea Music Festival. I only heard snippets of it as I was passing by and the only solid thing that sticks in my mind is that you played, on the concertina in between verses of quite a long song, a melodic phrase that ended with two beats of a very strident chord. Does this sound at all familiar?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 05:47 PM

Richard-

I too have a vague recollection of the Mother Carey/Davy Jones poem that Tom Goux recited. It's a good one but I'm not sure I can find it either.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 06:25 PM

Call me dumb but I hear the interpretation of Mother Carey in the Poem as "the Sea". Which come to think of it may have been what the shanty singer was saying - and who knows it may have been Tom Lewis not Jim Magean - isn't memory a wonderful thing?


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 06:38 PM

Yes, I agree, Mr Red, the phrase "Mother Carey" in the song I posted does seem to refer to the sea. It's just that I had never heard the phrase before and I wondered where it came from.

Radriano


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST,JWB sans cookie
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 10:52 PM

Richard,

I'll send Tom Goux an email tomorrow and see if he'll tell me the poem's name and source. He already owes me some other obscure material, so this is a good excuse to prod him. Have you ever come across the song "The Nova Scotia Diet?"

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 01:34 AM

JWB-
It's in the Digital TRadition. Search for "You can tell a Nova Scotian"


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 11:44 AM

Thanks Jerry! I appreciate the effort. And no, I haven't heard "The Nova Scotia Diet" - is it indeed the same as "You can tell a Nova Scotian" that Dick mentioned?


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 02:33 PM

A friend of mine just read to me, over the phone, some entries for "Mother Carey" from the Oxford Book of Sea Terms & the Dictionary of Nautical Literacy. I'll post the complete references tomorrow but the gist of it is that Mother Carey is the "mother" or "head person" in the mythical "Fiddler's Green."


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: JWB
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 04:42 PM

Richard,

Yep, Dick's got it. Makes me hungry just reading the lyric (being a Downeaster myself, though not a Blue Nose). Tom Goux told me that he found this gem in a little Canadian songster from the 20s or 30s.

No reply from Tom on Mother Carey yet.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 09:10 PM

Lyr. Add: ANCHOR SONG
Rudyard Kipling, 1893

HEH! Walk her round. Heave, ah heave her short again!
Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on the pawl.
Loose all sail, and brace your yards back and full-
Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all!

Well, ah fare you well; we can stay no more with you, my love-
Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say:
"You must take me while you may,
If you'd go to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!),
Oh, we're bound to Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!"

Heh! Walk her round. Break, ah break it out o' that!
Break our starboard-bower out, speak, awash, and clear.
Port-port she casts, with the harbour-mud beneath her foot,
And that's the last o' bottom we shall see this year!

Well, ah, fare you well, for we've got to take her out again-
Take her out in ballast, riding light and cargo-free.
And it's time to clear and quit
When the hawser grips the bitt,
So we'll pay you with the foresheet and a promise from the sea!

Heh! Tally on. Aft and walk away with her!
Handsome to the cathead now, O tally on the fall!
Stop, seize and fish, and easy on the davit-guy.
Up, well up the fluke of her, and inboard haul!

Well, ah fare you well, for the Channel wind's took hold of us,
Choking down our voices as we snatch the gaskets free.
And it's blowing up for night,
And she's dropping Light on Light,
And she's snorting under bonnets for a breath of open sea,

Wheel, full and by, but she'll smell her road alone tonight.
Sick she is and harbour-sick- O sick to clear the land!
Roll down to brest with the old Red Ensign over us-
Carry on and thrash her out with all she'll stand!

Well, ah fare you well, and it's Ushant slams the door on us,
Whirling like a windmill through the dirty scud to lee:
Till the last, last flicker goes
From the tumbling water-rows,
And we're off to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!),
Oh, we're bound for Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!

Peter Bellamy was probably the first to put a tune to this evocative poem about weighing anchor and leaving harbour.
Surprised it is not in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: JWB
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 09:31 AM

Radriano,

Here's what Tom Goux wrote me about his Mother Carey poem:

"Yes, Mother Carey, she's the Mother of Witches ... Go to your collected
works of John Masefield (Salt Water Ballads, perhaps). There it be!"

When I get time I'll look it up meself. Let me know if you find it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 09:33 AM

Thanks again, Q, for posting another wonderful poem.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:14 AM

This is getting interesting. Tom Goux refers to Mother Carey as mother of witches yet other sources give Mother Carey as a corruption of Mater Cara, one of the epithets of Maria, the mother of Christ (see earlier post in this thread and below).

Here's something from "The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea," edited by Peter Kemp, Oxford University Press, 1976:

"Mother Carey's Chickens, the name given by sailors to small sea birds (Procellaria pelagica), the presence of which near a ship was supposed to indicate the approach of a storm. The name Mother Carey derives from the latin Mater Cara whose birds - Aves Santae Mariae - they were supposed to be. French sailors call them les oiseaux de Nortre Dame. The bird is ordinarily known as the Storm Petrel, a corruption of the Italian Petrello or Little Peter, a name bestowed on it because of its ability to run lightly over the surface of the sea, thus imitating St. Peter's achievement of walking on the water."

More references on Monday. I'm picking up a copy of The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy over the weekend that contains more information on Mother Carey.

Radriano


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:19 AM

there are many people - both historically and currently - who would see nothing contridictory in Mother Carey being both "mother of witches" and Mater Cara/Virgin Mary.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 02:56 PM

Yah, but I'm more interested in when she was hanging out with Davy Jones at the bottom of the sea.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 11:34 AM

I went to the National Maritime Library in San Francisco and learned more about Mother Carey this weekend.

From The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy, by Robert McKenna, International Marine/McGraw Hill, 2001:

"Mother Carey's Chickens, sailor's term for storm petrels or similar seabirds. In folklore, Mother Carey is the woman in charge of Fiddler's Green, the last home of the souls of drowned sailors. She sees to it that her guests are comfortable and, from time to time, lets them visit the upper world. When such visits occur, the souls take the form of seabirds known to the sailors as storm petrels. For this reason, no real sailor will ever harm a storm petrel."

From Superstitions of the Sea, by James Clary, Maritime History in Art, St. Clair, Michigan, 1994:

"Perhaps the most famous sea bird is the black storm petrel also known as Mother Carey's chickens, alamottie, storm fish, or litter Peter. Believed to appear before a storm as a warning to mariners, as its Latin name, Procellaria, infers, it did in fact warn sailors of a coming tempest by gathering under the stern of their ships. The severity of the storm was supposedly calculated by the number of birds sighted. The storm petrel commonly seen in great numbers in all seas of the world from coast to coast appeared as a close companion of the seafarer, as they were known to tirelessly follow ships to feed on the garbage thrown overboard. Still, early mariners saw the bird as a bad omen because of its black coat of feathers and, because it was often sighted hundreds of miles from land, seldom tiring, resting, or feeding. Its storm-foreboding character is described in this verse:

Oh, stormy, stormy petrel!
Thou art a bird of woe,
Yet would I thou couldst tell me half
of the misery thous dost know

Although befriending man by warning him of approaching storms, man's unjustified contempt for the bird was exemplified in this verse:

Thus doth the prophet of good or ill
Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still;
Yet he ne'er falters; so, petrel, spring
Once more on the waves with thy stormy wing.

[My apologies, I neglected to copy the references as to where these verses come from (radriano)]

Because they were always seen on the fly and rarely noticed on land, it was believed that the little bird hatched its eggs beneath its wings, and never rested

Mother Carey was the fable wife of Davy Jones of the sea, both of whom were mythical maritime deities. To retire to "Davy Jones' locker" is the sea term for drowning. Storm petrels were often referred to as Mother Carey's chickens because they were believed to be the spirits of dead sailors.

Besides being able to swim, petrels possess the unique attribute of supporting themselves with flapping wings while rapidly striking the water with their webbed feed, which has given cause to them being compared to St. Peter walking on the water."

And finally, from Salt-water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield, The MacMillan Company, Publishers, New York, 1913, the poem mentioned earlier in this thread:

MOTHER CAREY
(As told me by the bo'sun)

Mother Carey? She's the mother o' the witches
'N' all them sort o'rips;
She's a fine gell to look at, but the hitch is,
She's a sight too fond of ships.
She lives upon an iceberg to the norred,
'N' her man he's Davy Jones,
'N' she combs the weeds upon her forred
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o'the wrecks, 'n' the monther
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows.
The noise of the wind's her screamin',
'I'm arter a plump, young, fine,
Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed young seam'n
So as me 'n' my mate kin dine.'

She's a hungry old rip 'n' a cruel
For sailor-men like we,
She's give a many mariners the gruel
'N' a long sleep under sea.
She's the blood o' many a crew upon her
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck.

I ain't never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly two.
You're young, you things, 'n' you're lairy,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o'Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: radriano
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 11:47 AM

The first line of the second verse of the Mother Carey poem in my last post should read:

She's the mother o'the wrecks, 'n' the mother

Radriano


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 12:32 PM

Unlike Masefield's "Mother Carey," which could make a nice song-recitation, a 19th century poem by Theodore Watts-Dunton doesn't look usable at first glance. Also long, but worth reading. Subtitled "On seeing a storm-petrel in a cage on a cottage wall and releasing it."
See "Ode to Mother Carey's Chicken" at Chicken


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM

And a fine illustration from Audubon's "Birds of America," titled "Wilson's Petrel-Mother Carey's Chicken," plate 460: Petrel
There are several petrels that are called Mother Carey's chickens, the one known as Procellaria pelagica (name differs in different books) would be best known to North Atlantic sailors.
Species in the Pacific are different, but are similar in appearance.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 05:37 PM

Thanks, Richard!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 11:54 AM

This has been an informative read.

I think that given the range and distance that both petrels and sailors travel, that it would be unwise to try to limit the term used to a particular species.

Anyone - including the experts who have ever tried to see these birds at sea - let alone to specifically identfy these tiny birds from a pitching vessel - will testify as to how difficult it is. There are ways to do this especially on the odd calm day, but the average sailor would be unlikely to make these distinctions.

I suspect that any small black and white petrel seen 'walking' on the surface of the water would be Mother Carey's Chickens.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM

The following link is an account of trips to see these birds.

http://www.birdtours.co.uk/tripreports/pelagic/scillonian2000/scillonian.htm


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 03 - 11:14 AM

About ten years ago I was sailing from Antigua, W.I. up to Newport, R.I. on an old ketch called "Ring-Andersen." The skipper was a great sailor, a Swedish bloke named Arne Frisell. He gave me a warning about Mother Carey's Chickens that I'll never forget. He said "If one of them lands on board you better hunker down, 'cause they'll blow your ears off!" Apparently he was referring to the chaotic flapping and squaking they make when they land on something solid and have difficulty taking off again. You have to grab them as they're flapping and squaking and pecking and you have to throw them overbaord so they can take off from the water. This never happened on that particular trip, but I was always ready to hunker down if a Mother Carey's Chicken came aboard.
Rev


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Oct 03 - 01:24 PM

I think you may have trouble with some of the larger petrels - especially with them vomiting fishy oil all over you - which is their natural defence - but the (black and white) storm petrels are really tiny and should not be too difficult to handle

During night-time bird ringing (banding) sessions at coastal headlands during the breeding time in Shetland I have been lucky enough to have Storm and Leach's Petrels in my hands. They are not really much bigger than say a swallow.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: GUEST,Jaap
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 06:44 AM

at Q: The poem by John Masefield was actually put to music by Frederick Keel in 1919.


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 08:29 AM

It's odd that in all my years of searching I haven't been able to find a single image of "Mother Carey," the demon wife of Davy Jones.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 10:20 AM

She pioneeered keeping her own last name (instead of being Mother Jones)?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 06:46 AM

Maybe "Me and Mrs. Jones" was about her. ;-}


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Subject: RE: Maritime term 'Mother Carey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 08:54 AM

Sigh!

No link to a picture of Mother Carey...

Charley Noble


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