The rime of the ancient fisherman I met outside some nightclub.
I wrote this in response to the recent article that has been hopping from publication to publication about the state of the pacific. I would like to thank Samuel Taylor Coleridge for his help in writing the piece.
An unemployed old fisherman
Shouted at my friends, and he
Demanded that I listen
I said, “I’ve no time for thee.”
“The party in here’s started now
And I’m the planner’s boyfriend
I cannot stop to talk to you
I have no time to lend.”
He grabbed me as I tried to pass
and began to tell a tale of woe
I shouted “Let me go you ass”
But he said that I must know.
So it was he began to speak,
And I listened to his words.
He told me of the dying seas
And of the missing birds
I took a seat upon a bench
And he made me hear
I forgot about my waiting wench,
As he passed to me his fear.
His ship had sailed into the sea
to bring home food and money.
They didn’t know what they would see,
that would be so unfunny.
The Sun soared over every day
And went down every night,
As the fishermen went on their way
Towards their awful fright.
The fisherman continued on
With telling me this detail
But then I heard my favourite song
I wondered if I could bail.
My girlfriend was inside the club
I shouldn’t be sat out here
She’d think I was sat in a pub
And drinking too much beer.
I told him that I had to go
he said I had to hear
I tried to tell him, “come on. No”
But he gave me a sneer.
“Your type are all the same” he said.
“You just don’t ever care.
What will you do when you are dead?
when the world turns to nightmare.
We headed out into the ocean
But our prey remained unfound.
We heard the sounds of our boats motion
But otherwise, no sound.
We waited and we searched the sky,
there was no single bird
There was no sight of things that fly
Of this I give my word.
The cause for the birds going away
Was not below the waves
The fish weren’t there, we’d lost our prey
The fish, we had not saved.
It was only tuna that we sought
When we had fished these seas.
That was the fish our client bought
It was them we tried to please.
The other fish we’d thrown back
It fetched a lower price
If we didn’t we’d all get the sack
I wish that we’d thought twice
The birds would eat those rotting fish
So we didn’t feel so bad
But now there were no fish to eat
As so few became dads.
The good old days, they couldn’t last
I wish we’d thought ahead
They were firmly in the past
Now all the fish were dead.
We sailed on in search of fish,
or anything to eat.
We had to eat as well you see,
but we’d brought little meat.
The ocean seemed more silent
The further we progressed
This is the fault of human kind
Our captain soon confessed.
A few days out we came across
A sight that was much worse.
If the ocean was a person
It would have been inside a hearse.
We thought at first we had found land
But that just shouldn’t be
Such a thing we had not planned
For at least two weeks, or three
Ahead of us was an awful sight
Compounding all I’d seen.
It gave to me a greater fright
Than anywhere I’d been.
In the ocean, all around us
Miles and miles of junk.
Rubbish of the world had found us
My heart inside me sunk.
I stood and looked for open sea
that must beyond this lay
I told the crew “this cannot be”
My heart filled with dismay.
It felt as though we were on land
As through the junk we sailed.
A nation totally unmanned
A mark mankind had failed.
Old drinks cans and plastic boxes
Were all the vermin near.
The usual landbased rats and foxes
couldn’t survive here.
At last we could all hear some sounds
We wished that we could not
It was our ship’s bow hitting mounds
Of rubbish in the flot.
Day after day, day after day,
We carried on seeking our quarry.
To the captain I did say,
I think mankind should worry.
Rubbish, rubbish, everywhere,
This was where it came.
Rubbish, rubbish, every where,
Such an awful shame.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Not even slimy things would crawl
Nothing alive to see.
Was this a sign there was no God
He’d never stand for this.
What had he against plaice and cod
This really took the piss.
For days our journey carried on
At night sleep had no mirth.
We had nightmares of a dying sun
Above this dying earth.
The barren sea gave up no fish.
Soon nothing filled our plate.
We didn’t try for food to wish,
Rather mankind we did hate.
Depression started to take hold
The crew knew we had caused this;
The ocean’s life was what we sold
Now life, the ocean missed.
There passed for us a weary time.
We quickly gave up hoping,
From such hideous depths could the world’s health climb?
It certainly wasn’t coping.
It was not long before the stress
Affected all the crew.
All we could see was this godless mess
We all wished wasn’t true.
Our ship’s cook was the first to go
Without food he had less to do
He must have stepped into the flow
It was some time before we knew
The worst thing was, he was not gone.
He came to us at night
Upon the deck his spectre shone
A gruesome bloated sight
Floating in this lifeless waste
This awful sight did tell
The crewmen how their chosen life
Would lead them all to hell.
The next day we lost another;
His poor mind could not take it.
He had felt for years much like a brother,
I hoped the rest of us would make it.
One by one the crew gave in
Now they knew the ocean’s state.
Earning their living, their only sin,
But they’d seen for themselves the world’s fate.
Eventually I was alone;
Our ship seemed now forlorn.
I knew I must try and get home;
The public I should warn.
The ship was hard to sail alone,
And lonesome was my trip.
From gathered rubbish I built a throne
And became King of the ship.
At nights the dead crew and I danced
It took my mind from my hunger.
As days passed by I felt in a trance
I couldn’t last much longer.
I soon came up with a decent plan
I could get home quicker, I just had to fly!
It’s true I was only a hungry man
But if nothing else, I had to try.
Given my weight and lack of wings
I climbed the mast to begin my flight
I thought that’ll lend balance against these things
From the top I saw a wondrous sight.
Off in the distance there was a sail
I needn’t fly, there was a ship
In getting home I wouldn’t fail
There was help ahead to finish my trip.”
“You’ve gone nuts”, I told the bloke.
“I have to go inside,
You as a flying king’s a joke”
I stopped his tale mid stride.
“I haven’t time to talk to freaks
With theories of doom”;-
“I’ll admit my mind grew weak
But now I am no loon.”
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
My saviours in my rescue ship
Brought me back to sanity.
My crew were dead
That is no lie
But somewhere ocean life survives;
Lives on and so do I.
I looked upon the floating junk
And drew my eyes away;
I had to come back to the world
And tell you what I say.
I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But God won’t come to save us
Nature happens as it may
If God won’t save us mankind must.
That ship, it brought me back to land
Since then I’ve tried to speak.
But all that people listen to
Is what’s on ‘Mock the Week’.
Like you! You’re thinking of that club,
And your girl you haven’t seen
Since last night down the local pub,
But what does such life mean?
One day the two of you might bring
A child onto this planet
I’m sure you’d want the best for him,
I know that’s how I’d plan it.
Mark my words this won’t all last
With mankind’s help the world won’t die;
But at this time it’s failing fast;
It’s not too late; we have to try.
The problem is our ignorance
We’re blind to half the problem.
You go out to drink and dance
And that’s why you don’t stop them.
There is no need for all this harm;
There are solutions we can find.
The problem is that money’s charm,
Is overwhelming for weak minds.
The greed of those who take our cash
Is their only motivation.
Where there’s no profit they make ash
of the world, by automation.
I beg of you to change their ways.
You only have one voice,
But together we’re the ones who pay
them. Leave them with no choice!
He payeth best, who knows the worth
All things both great and small;
For the things we do not value
Soon won’t be there at all.
The Fisherman, who’d kept me here
Walked off now, just like that.
Deciding that I needed beer
I crossed the clubs door mat.
I went like one that had been stunned,
I was of sense forlorn;
A sadder and a wiser man,
I rose the next day’s morn.