Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 20 2010-05-03T17:13:00Z 2010-05-03T17:13:00Z 2 347 1978 Timberhead 16 3 2429 9.6926

Frankie on the Sheepscot 

© 1970 Gordon Bok, BMI

 

This is about two friends of mine --- Frank Wiley and his stepfather Cleon Stuart, from Deer Island, New Brunswick --- with whom I used to fish occasionally.  Just a picture of a particularly discouraging day towing for shrimp on the Sheepscot River.  Cleon says he wouldn't want people to think it's always like this, and indeed it isn't, but there were many days that particular winter when they'd end up back at the wharf by daylight, with nothing to show for a day's work but a couple hundred pounds of shrimp.

 

Frankie braids the purse-string, Cleon sets the tow.

Frankie goes to pick them over in the well.

He's never got a hat on, and the snow is all about him,

And it packs around his head like his own skin.

 

"Don't I hate this foolish river!" Frankie cries;

Up and down her like a yo-yo on a string,

Go out in the morning and tear up,

Mend all your afternoon,

And all this dirty river staving by."

 

Ah, but boys, you should have seen him,

Wearing snow as you would wear your hair,

Singing: "It's a hard life for a boy on the gut…"

(He's got the words wrong, but he doesn't seem to care.)

And the seagulls working easy out behind him.

 

Cleon slides the hatch back, and he shouts down:

"Boys, we're anchored."

And you set your coffee down, and go on the deck,

But the river's humping by so fast, the snow's so flying thick,

You can't tell if she's moving or lying still.

 

"Don't I hate this foolish river!"  Frankie cries;

"Up and down her like a yo-yo on a string,

Go out in the morning and tear up,

Mend all your afternoon,

And all this poor old river going by…"

 

Cleon winds the wheel, and he cracks the power to her,

And she pokes her head around, but she doesn't turn,

And he takes her out of gear,

While Frankie goes to try haul back;

He says "I guess we've just hooked the dear old State of Maine."

 

Ah, but boys, you should have seen him;

Hour after hour, Cleon on that old wheel.

There's nothing out there but hard times,

And time and the flying snow.

And all that pretty river rolling by.

 

Oh, but boys it makes me wonder,

Hour after hour, Cleon on that old wheel.

There's nothing to see but hard times,

Time and the flying snow.

But Clean watches day and night and day.

 



Mister, I Don't Mind  is recorded on the albums North Winds Clearing and Peter Kagan and the Wind,  and is also in the songbook Time and the Flying Snow