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Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)

Young Buchan 31 Dec 09 - 05:28 PM
autoharper 31 Dec 09 - 06:34 PM
Uncle_DaveO 31 Dec 09 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,David E. 31 Dec 09 - 06:59 PM
Young Buchan 01 Jan 10 - 01:31 AM
brashley46 01 Jan 10 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,999 01 Jan 10 - 01:49 AM
Darowyn 01 Jan 10 - 04:26 AM
Anglo 01 Jan 10 - 04:29 AM
VirginiaTam 01 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Jan 10 - 06:43 AM
Young Buchan 01 Jan 10 - 08:16 AM
Linda Kelly 01 Jan 10 - 11:33 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Jan 10 - 11:42 AM
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Subject: Death in Yarmouth
From: Young Buchan
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 05:28 PM

I told you so.

The BBC have just announced that the last individual commercial fishing skipper in Great Yarmouth has given up his boat.

I wrote this in 1988. Only the last verse is relevant, but to give it context I'll bore you with the lot.

Lament for the Fishing

The year was 1899 and I was just a lass,
When I stood on the Yarmouth quay and watched the drifters pass
And the herring that were piled on deck were like the blades of grass,
And I'm sure I thought those days would never end.
The work was on the ocean, there was money there galore.
Why sweat to till the land when you can farm the ocean floor?
I saw an old man shake his head, and when I asked what for,
He said: "Because the sea is never tamed."

The year was 1923 and I wore the wedding band
And I watched my husband coming home with nothing in his hand;
For the harvest of the sea can fail just like the ones on land.
And dear God I thought those days would never end.
I heard the crying children, I saw the hungry wives,
Watched men paid off in pennies for the weeks they'd risked their lives;
For man is not the master there, for all that man contrives.
And I tell you that the sea is never tamed.

The year was 1929 and the good times came again.
There was food for all the family, there was work for all the men.
And I never saw a town as gay as I saw Yarmouth then.
And I really hoped those days would never end.
But from all the boats that brought the herring into Yarmouth quay
One fisherman was missing and that one belonged to me.
His bones are lying rolling in the deep grey northern sea
Just to teach me that the sea is never tamed.

The year was 1935; you'd have thought that all was well.
There were herring piled up on the shore, but the herring didn't sell,
And men dumped fish back in the sea for which they'd worked like hell
And, God, I feared those days would never end.
And men who'd fished for forty years were forced to quit the game.
They sold their boats for a few square meals and wept with tears of shame.
And I thanked Christ mine hadn't lived to have to do the same.
And I tell you that the sea is never tamed.

The year was 1953 and the good times came once more.
There was cran on cran of herring piled up on the Yarmouth shore,
And the young folk went to watch them just as I had years before;
And I'm sure they thought those days would never end.
And when I tried to tell them they just laughed me all to scorn.
They said the bad old days were done – the modern age was born.
And they'd no time for a daft old gal that only tried to warn
Them, and tell them that the sea is never tamed.

The year is 1988, and I'm near 93
And I've seen the small man swallowed up by the damned great company.
And I sometimes wonder who'll go first – the Yarmouth fleet, or me?
And I wonder if these days will ever end.
You businessmen that own us now, though safe on shore you be,
You can cheat on one another, you can cheat the likes of me,
You can cheat the Yarmouth fisherman, but you'll not cheat the sea.
For I tell you that the sea is never tamed.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth
From: autoharper
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 06:34 PM

I'd like to know the name of the author.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 06:53 PM

Thank you so much for that poem!

I read it to my wife, and it took over: I couldn't control the tears. But then my wife is used to that, and knows that I'm a sentimental slob.

But that's powerful poem, and again I thank you for posting it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 06:59 PM

I will certainly second that. Is there more where that came from?

David E.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 01:31 AM

Ok I give up my friendly cloak of invisibility - Derek Brinkley


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: brashley46
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 01:39 AM

'Minds me of "Make and Break Harbour" ... Stan Rogers.


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Subject: LYRIC ADD
From: GUEST,999
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 01:49 AM

Please add the song/poem to the DT. It's great.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Darowyn
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 04:26 AM

I can sympathise with the problems of a community based on a single industry when that industry collapses. There have been many examples over the past hundred years.
But from first hand knowledge of a fishing town, I empathise less with fisherfolk.
They frequently refer to 'farming' or 'harvesting' the sea, comparing themselves with agricultural workers. When did a fisherman ever breed a fish? When did he ever cultivate the sea?
They do not farm the sea, they rob it. They have robbed it, worldwide to the extent that they have fished the fishing grounds and their own livelihoods to extinction.
The planet is too small, the population is too large for the hunter gatherer mentality of 'strip the area and move on to the next' to be sustainable once industrial scale extraction is involved.
When the whole earth is bare, where do we move to?
No, I can't completely sympathise with Fishermen.
It's a good song though.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Anglo
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 04:29 AM

Wonderful, Derek. So glad you posted the whole poem. Is there a tune for it? Do you have a recording somewhere? This piece should be out there.

My own friendly cloak of invisibility is now shot - so Happy New Year, may Yarmouth prosper.

John Roberts


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 05:57 AM

Wow tingles here.

Derek, That so needs a tune. Find a tunesmith. It is crying out to be sung.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 06:43 AM

Young Buchan is a fine singer & tunesmith in his own right, VT & I'm sure he's got a tune for this. This is the self-same genius who once sang Agadoo to the tune of Mo Roisin Dhu and who established the melody of Dowie Dens of Yarrow to his own song about the Jarrow March to such an extent that when I sang Dowie Dens I was accused of pinching Mr Brinkley's melody!


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 08:16 AM

There is a tune. It is one of my own, which means it rarely passes beyond the range of two notes, one of which is flat. The tune is published in Ron Angel's book Sitting in the Sun. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN'T GOT A COPY? I seem to recall this was achieved by Ron transcribing it while I hummed it down the phone.

I shall not sue anyone who makes up a better one or finds a trad one that fits it. Failing that if anyone one is so desperate for the original that they are prepared to post me their email address I'll make a perfunctory and probably unsuccessful attempt to send them a WAV file.

Darowyn - I don't necessarily empathise fully with fisherfolk either, given that I am a vegetarian.


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 11:33 AM

nice on mate


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Subject: RE: Death in Yarmouth (UK commercial fishing)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 11:42 AM

I think this a very distinguished poem — one of the best original works I have seen from the Revival, right up there with such as Bob Copper's The Old Songs and Ewan MacColl's Schooldays Over and Peter Bellamy's Farewell To The Land. Thank you for publishing it here, Derek.

Happy New Year - Michael


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