Spare Hand                                                Linda Kelly

I dream of distant waters though my fishing days are gone
And for thirty years I’ve worked the factory floor;
At night when I lay sleeping I can still hear howling gales
As we hauled our nets and brought our fish aboard;
Though owners called me casual I’d twenty years at sea
And I swear I worked as hard as any can,
And although they cut the quotas and they took me job away
In my heart I know I’m still a fisherman.

It’s a dim and distant memory now and fading with the past
Like a photograph that’s not seen light of day,
But you can’t forget the hunger and you don’t forget the pain
Or the misery that doesn’t go away;
’Cause when the fishing ended and the men in suits demand,
“You’d better find another job and this time on dry land,
But don’t expect redundancy or to have a helping hand.”
Don’t they know that I was born a fisherman?

The cold of the Atlantic chilled the hearts of angry men
Who struggled on to earn their daily bread,
Who like their fathers long before had ploughed the ocean deep
And they never thought their living would be dead:
Now they’re waiting by the factory gates, they’re queuing in a line
Saying, “Try again tomorrow, lads, you’ve had no luck this time.”
So they wander home and tell the wife and kids it will be fine,
And I wish that I was still a fisherman.

And the TV and the tabloids they got bored and went away
And they told us that they’d bigger fish to fry,
And the men in suits informed us it’s a fight you cannot win
So give up lads and let the fishing die;
But they’re sure to pay the owners, was their influence that great
That they wouldn’t have them suffer at their hand?
It’s a trickle down economy, they’ll give you what they can,
So you best forget you were a fisherman.

And the children sit and listen to the tales their fathers tell
And it doesn’t seem a world they’ll ever know,
Of the catches and the conflicts, of the misery and the hell
And the battle grounds of Iceland long ago;
For their father is a carpenter, he’s a driver of a van,
He’s a lagger or a miner, or he does the best he can;
But when he goes to sleep at nights he’ll be bringing in the cran
’Cause you’ll always live and die a fisherman.
Yes when he goes to sleep at nights he’ll be bringing in the cran
Yes you’ll always live and die a fisherman.