MAKE & BREAK HARBOR

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7964 Oakwood Park Ct. St. Michaels, MD 21663

I bought an audio cassette at a music store in St. Johns, Newfoundland because it included a song with that intriguing title. Make & Break Harbor is sung by Stan Rogers with violin, guitar, bass, and vocal accompaniment.

In New found land, an old one-lung marine engine is called a 'make & break' engine even if it has a spark plug. The song is a lament for the passing of small fishing boats and the rise of the great trawlers.

Here are the words, with permission of the Fogarty's Cove Music Company:

How still lies the bay in the light 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 Islander, old but still sound

But so lost in the long liner's shadow;

Make and break and make do, for 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 went so cheap but so plenty.

Foreign trawlers go by now with farseeing eyes

Taking all, where we seldom take any.

And the young folk don't stay with the fishermen'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 for a penny.'

In Make and Break Harbor the boats are so few

Too many are pulled up and rotten.

Most houses stand empty, the nets hung to dry

And 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 forgotten?

For we still keep our time to the turn of the tide

And this boat that I built with my father

She still lifts to the sky! The old one-lunger and I

Still talk like old friends on the water.