A boat sank down, below
'Midst the gales: November
High winds made rough seas; the water, rile 
If only they'd had one more day
They could have docked in Whitefish Bay
And waited, till the storm passed, for a while
Ore, iron: ferry; terms, they give her
At Cleveland: payment, when deliver
Bad news for the steel mill
The Captain's at the wheel, still
But standing in a grave, dark, dank
When the ship hit bottom of the tank
The storm struck them from ev'ry flank
The day Fitzgerald sank
So bye-bye, Ed Fitzgerald, deep, lie
Those poor sailors couldn't bail her; failure: fast enough, dry
But them brave, bold boys not blinkin'; no "Captain Bligh" 
Thinkin' this'll be the day that they die
This'll be the way that they die
Did you see the clouds above?
And do storm-force winds give mighty shove?
Did the forecast tell you so?
Do seas, ship, heave? Boat, rock and roll?
Can "Mayday" call, 'haps, save your soul? 
"Help! Can you reach me? Any chance, soon, show?"
Well, the pride of US, was this ship
From some mill, Wisconsin, start the trip
They sailed off for this "cruise"
But they bring 'long with 'em, bad news!
They were the largest freighter on the Lake
With a darned good Captain who'd brook no mistake
And crew knew how, each move, to make
Until skies opened wide
They had been singin'
"Aye, aye, 'cross the water, let's fly
"Get this freighter to the gate or won't get laid (at least, try)
"Let's make some noise, we're feelin' frisky and spry"
And singin' "This mill, let's offload its supply
"Then, for rest of night, we can lie"
Now, for ten days, quite a happy gang
Till that night, heard as the ship's bell rang
But that's not how 'twas s'posed to be
When the weather changed, with a shift of wind
From the North, cause sorrow; no one grinned
It was cold and raised up quite a sea
Oh, and while the wind was howling 'round
The wires made a tattling sound
The Captain was concerned
'Twas too late: home, return
And as water broke above the rail
Athwart, get too much wind to sail 
The crashing surges, try to bail
That day, a new course, tried
Wind was stingin'
"My, my, looks like plan's gone awry
"Put the pedal to the metal; some place, settle and tie
"November's witch is gettin' b*tchy and sly"
Bad thing: abysmal is ther plight, can't deny
"Kiss our dismal asses good-bye"
Helter skelter: need to find some shelter
'Spite freezing rain, 'neath their raincoats, swelter
Some place that's safe, and find it fast....
The dawn came late; breakfast, pass
Come afternoon, met a new airmass
Hurricane-force are the west winds, as they blast 
Supper, came time; 'most complete, their doom
All the sailors prayed: not sea, entomb
Oh, bet they'd rather be in France!
As the sailors tried, their ship, to save
At 7, hatchway, main, did cave
The Captain, one last good-bye, gave
Then spray: a huge, thick wave
They started sinkin'
"May-day, is there help on the way?
"We're in trouble; on the double, come, or bubbles, display"
Them good old buoys were winkin' colored array
Sea, drinkin'; ev'rything in mass disarray
Wished they'd never got underway
Oh, and there they were, by storm, surprised
They could have split up or capsized
And no sign: loving God, did send
But live on: sons and daughters, faces, names
Poor wives turned into widowed dames
'Cause water, like the Devil, claimed their men
Oh, as Lake Huron roils in rage
Super-ior's grief, can't assuage
Such strangely icy Hell
Their fate: forever, dwell
From Michi-gan steam rises, day and night
Its bays and islands: sports' delight
But those great men: staff, an awful plight
Gone gray: Fitzgerald's light
Hands were wringin'
Woe, grow, to Ontario, go:
All Lake Erie's waters weary, down, they drearily flow
Still, iron boats float, as the mariners know:
Ore, bringin'; whistlin' as seas, plyin' although --
Knowin' what cruel Fate can bestow
Old musty hall; bell rang for crews
As they eulogized unhappy news
For each man, chimed, times twenty-nine
They became part of sailor's lore
All remembered gales, Novembers yore
In cathedral, unto Heaven, souls, consign
And in Detroit, the widows wept
Friends, fam'ly cried, as their loss, accept
Of all, kind words were spoken
And no one's spirit broken
But the thing that I admire best:
The boats still sail from East and West
Despite the vast pain, on, they pressed
Job, stay, though crewmen died
On boats, they're singin'
"Hie, hie, souls to Heaven on high
"Though the Ed Fitz sank, and dead, sits on sea-bed, 'Quits': not I"
And those five Great Lakes, still sailin', rainy or dry
Workin', even though they've no idea why:
People: some still live, and some die
"Hail, hail, died: November's first gale
"Gitchie Gumee'd do it to me, too, but crew, true, must sail"
From Chipp'wa, down, their story never grows stale
Singin', "Honor them; remember their tale"
 Talk about being caught between Scylla and Charybdis -- appropriate metaphor for sailors, eh? ;) -- or between a rock and a hard place! Could use "hostile" , e. g.. "Were the sea's conditions too hostile", but the dictionary says that the long "i" pronunciation (to rhyme with the corresponding line to come, and to syl-match TOS "smile") is chiefly British. But it also says that "rile" is chiefly North American, a variant of "roil". Well, being on the west side of The Pond, TT went with en-US.
 British Admiral, captain of HMS Bounty, subject of a 1789 mutiny depicted in numerous books and movies. *These* sailors remained faithful to the end. Besides, rough, cold water is a far less pleasant escape than the shores of Tahiti. ;)
 "SOS" - commonly thought to be an acronym for "Save our souls" (or "Save our ship"), but actually, among International Morse Code letters, chosen arbitrarily as being easy to transmit and difficult to mistake. SOS is the telegraphic distress signal only; the oral equivalent is "Mayday". Nothing to do with any month; phonetic spelling of French "M'aidez!" or "M'aider!" = "Help me!"
 "Athwart" (nautical) -- at a right angle to the ship or to its course. ("Athwart, get..". = "The quartet")
 TT has always given D McL the benefit of the doubt, assuming that "hurricane (west wind)" was being used as a metaphor, or (loosely, if not improperly) as a generic indicator of the strength of the wind. *As all of us know*, actual hurricanes can form and feed only over very warm tropical or sub-tropical waters. Movement over land, or over cold water, weakens them rapidly. No true hurricane could form or survive over a lake on the US-Canadian border, whose average *highest* annual water temperature is 55F / 13C -- and it would have to cross a thousand miles of land, or a mountain range and some other cold lakes, to get there from the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. (Mangling words is fun; misusing them is poor writing.)
The storm was actually the result of a cutoff low, formed by interaction with a Canadian frontal -- oh, heck. It just wasn't a hurricane, that's all. :-D