How still lies the bay in the bright western airs
Which blow from the crimson horizon
Once more we tack home with a dry empty hold
Saving gas with the breezes so fair
She’s a kindly Cape Isander, old, but still sound
But so lost in the longliner’s shadow
Make and break, and make do, but the fish are so few
That she won’t be replaced should she founder
It’s so hard not to think of before the big war
When the cod were so cheap and so plenty
Foreign trawlers go by now with long-seeing eyes
Taking all, where we seldom take any
And so the young folk don’t stay with the fisherman’s way
Long ago, they all moved to the cities
And the ones left behind, old, tired, and blind
Can’t work for “a pound or a penny”.
In Make and Break Harbour the boats are so few
Too many are pulled up and rotten
Most houses stand empty, old nets hung to dry
Are blown away, lost and forgotten.
I can see the big draggers have stirred up the bay
Leaving lobster traps smashed on the bottom
Can they think it don’t pay to respect the old ways
That Make and Break men have not forgotton?
For we still keep our time to the turn of the tide
And this boat that I built with my father
Still lifts to the sky! The one lunger and I
Still talk like old friends on the water.