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Monday 3 November 2014

Q for Quinquireme

Cargoes       by John Masefield.

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophire,

Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,

With a cargo of ivory,

And apes and peacocks,

Sandalwood, cedar wood and sweet white wine.


Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,

Dipping through  the Tropics by the palm-green shores,

With a cargo of diamonds

Emeralds, amethysts,

Topazes and cinnamon  and gold moidores.

Dirty British Coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,

Butting through the Channel in the mid March days,

With a cargo of Tyne coal,

Road-rails, pig-lead,

Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.


An ancient Roman or Greek galley of a kind believed to have three banks of oars.The oars in the top two banks being rowed by pairs of oarsmen and the oars in the bottom bank being rowed by single oarsmen.

My thanks to the quick witted Denise for devising ABCW and to Roger our quintessential administrator.





  1. Replies
    1. Hi lotus leaf, I had to learn this poem amongst many others, for my English Literature O level exams.

      Best wishes,

      Abcw team.

  2. A world of mystery and treasures for sure!

  3. Thanks for the new (to me) words - quinquireme and moidore.

  4. I write you from my holiday address, hoping that I can keep up with you all. Thanks for the new words!
    Wil, ABCW Team

  5. Very nice introduction to the letter Q! I learned some new words and read a new to me poem. Thank you!

  6. What a great word!! I will look for the pronunciation. :-) Happy Q-week.

  7. All I can think of is the poor, poor guys who had to do all the rowing. Everyone must've been happy when technology took over those jobs.

    Thank you for giving us bloggers a place to share our words and pictures.

  8. And my thanks to you for a fascinating post! A single oarsman? Wow! Loved the pictures and the fact that you inspired me to read up on the decidedly Quirky John Masefield. I learned that he trained for a life at sea, partly as a way to discourage his addiction to reading, one that was greatly disapproved of by his aunt. In the end, he did lots of reading (and writing) at sea. Never know what information we might pick up at ABC Wednesday :)

    1. Hi BJC I remembered the poem from school and until I did some research, I though quinquireme was a place far away not a galley. I love prose about the sea, I've always had a fascination with it, and rivers too!,
      I wrote in a previous post about The River Mersey which is the river that Liverpool stands upon just near the estuary, which flows into The Irish Sea. I believe that john Masefield ran away to sea as a youngster but jumped ship and settled for a while in America.
      Best wishes.

      Abcw team.

  9. An interesting post, thanks so much.

  10. LindyLou: Thanks for dropping by and your comments.

    Best wishes,
    Abcw team