the sea in motion

P Mickelborough.

We fishermen who sail the ocean
Upon the deep we spend our lives
Sailing across that great sea in motion
So far away from sweethearts and wives

We work the days and the nights together
We’re fishing all the whole season round
We pay small heed to the stormy weather
No time for that when the fish are found

   And now that you’re gone and I’m left here waiting
   I never can tell when you’ll come back home
   I never will tell you how my heart is aching
   I just wish that you had no need to go

We leave the port as the day is closing
Turning our backs on the setting sun
See colours rise in the sky a-dawning
Gulls overhead when the work is done

You landsmen all you have no notion
Of men the sea takes, forever lost
You buy your fish fresh from the ocean
With little thought of what it cost

   And all on the quays, the herring girls toiling
   They work all the day in the cold gutting yards
   Their fingers are cut, in the salt they are bleeding
   Such little pay for the labour so hard

We’ve fished in Skaffies, Fifies, Zulus
Sail at first and then the steam
We know our jobs, to each man his calling
We do our best, no time to dream

From Wick, from Lybster, out of Buckie
Long days gone by on the fishing run
As far as Yarmouth, the end of season
But now we know the herring is gone

   Now you’re back in harbour, there’s no more herring
   You’re beached for good, you’ll sail no more
   The boats are dried out and their hulls slowly rotting
   Just like them you’re tied up fast to the shore

The herring’s gone, those days are over
We fished the seas for a thousand years
Ten thousand boats, millions of fishes
A life of toil, we have no regrets