Karl the Kludger, they called the man–
the quiet, smelly sort–
Lady picked him up in Ibiza
when last we were in port

Lady had been fitted
for coal-fired steam–
the crew feared to go near it,
’cause of the first-mate’s dream

Caspar, the first-mate, said,
“I dreamed I saw us die–
Lady blew into a thousand bits
beneath an angry sky”

So the captain hired this Karl
to keep the boilers hot,
“We have to make this crossing,”
he said, “so get to it, you lot.”

We rarely seen hide nor hair
of Karl or his tools
He spent all day in the engine room,
talking to it like some fool

Then, one day, as a storm approached,
Karl run onto the deck,
“I need bits of rope and wood,”
he said, “all the scrap metal I can get.”

We all stood rooted and watched the man
grab handfuls of this and that
When his arms were full, he’d sprint below,
and shortly would come back

First-mate asked, “What the hell is this?
Are we all going to die?”
Karl said nothing, but we could see
his face, which said, “Goodbye.”

Black smoke poured from the funnel,
as the smell of burning did rise,
storm clouds fell upon the ship–
cold rain, the waves too high

All hands took to secure the deck,
then huddled we below–
the heat like mid-day tropic sun,
as disquiet began to grow

Then captain came into the room,
said, “in hours the storm will pass,
but Karl the Kludger,” captain said,
“is dead from smoke and ash.”

When storm and smoke had cleared,
we come to where poor Karl lay
surrounded by his tools and junk,
then stopped we all to pray

The engine was decorated,
as a Christmas tree might be,
with bits of rope and metal and junk,
but she brung us ‘cross the sea

Karl the Kludger, the quiet man,
we buried in the deep–
we knew this man had saved us all,
we prayed his soul would sleep