Mary Ellen Carter

The Mary Ellen Carter is a song written and first recorded by Stan Rogers, regarding a metaphorical ship and intended to raise us up when we are in our darkest hour.


She went down last October in a pouring driving rain
The skipper he’d been drinking and the mate he felt no pain
Too close to Three Mile Rock and she was dealt her mortal blow
And the Mary Ellen Carter settled low

There was just us five aboard her when she finally was awash
We’d worked like hell to save her all heedless of the cost
And the groan she gave as she went down, it caused us to proclaim
That the Mary Ellen Carter’d rise again.


Chorus: Rise again, rise again
That her name not be lost to the knowledge of men
All those who loved her best and were with her to the end
Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again


Well, the owners wrote her off and not a nickel would they spend
She gave twenty years of service, boys, and met a sorry end
But insurance paid the loss to them, they let her rest below
They laughed at us and said we’d have to go.

We talked of her all winter, some days around the clock,
For she’s worth a quarter million, a-floating at the dock.
And with every jar that hit the bar we swore we would remain
And make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.           Chorus


All spring, now, we’ve been with her on a barge lent by a friend.
Three dives a day in a hard hat suit and twice I’ve had the bends.
Thank God it’s only sixty feet and the currents here are slow
Or I’d never have the strength to go below.

We’ve patched her rents and stopped her vents, dogged hatch and porthole down
Put cables to her fore and aft and girded her around
Tomorrow, noon, we’ll hit the air and then take up the strain
And make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.        Chorus


For we couldn’t leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale.
She’d saved our lives so many times, living through the gales
And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave,
They won’t be laughing in another day.

And you, to whom adversity has dealt that final blow,
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!


Final Chorus

Rise again, rise again,
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end,
No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *