Heave Ho! The Betty Marie
To white water she takes
In a rolling, foaming sea.
She glistens in the swells
In frigid winds and spray
To take the schools of cod
Where yonder icebergs stay.
Her skipper, with steady hands
And knowing eyes,
Ventures out each time
Farther on the Banks
To cast his nets where trawlers
With foreign flags do fly.
Wind, specter of the north,
Builds the waves,
But changes not the course,
As five God-fearing men:
Husbands, fathers, and their sons,
Continue on and motor forth
Until thy lose sight of land —
Tree-lined cliffs of Newfoundland.
As the Betty Marie tosses in the crests,
Word is given; the skipper nods
And five Newfoundlanders work as one,
Hauling in the frosted lines, slowly pulling
Bulging nets to their straining chests.
Heave Ho! It’s time to make a livin’
Gloved hand and muscled arms
Strong backs and solemn faces
Struggle to pull the nets
For what Almighty God has givin’
Heave Ho! Another harvest reaped
Cod nearly an arm long
Into the hold, more fish are heaped.
Like generations untold,
These men, their families all have given
Their strength, grit, and their soul
Way out on the Grand Banks
Laboring tirelessly in the cold.
And to Trinity Bay they return
Surfing with the waves,
Their rumbling diesels churn
With seabirds circling overhead
Around the point and mark the turn
Hopes are high on a rolling beam
By God, by cod, it’s Newfoundland
My rock island home and dream.
Inspired by the loving embraces of families after fishing trawlers
returned from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.