For Bert Le Noury


The ocean was clean, and full of fish
The sailors built their boats
And learned to dance with the waves

The bats would swoop around at night
And never lose their way
Like the mariner who needed no chart

The sea would sound its own alarm
For the fisherman to hear
As he gentled home in the curling fog

Ten thousand years of history
Are strangled in the nets
Of the floating long-haul factories

As another man, another kind of man,
Slips solemnly away
To find again a peace we all have lost



A cantankerous old fossil called Bert
Had a molar that started to hurt
But the dentist, he found,
Wanted twenty-five pound
And the pliers were free, said old Bert