Joe Jencks

St. Christopher

from What Kind Of Brother

Written: 01/2000 at PSGW Y2K Camp.  Many thanks to Chris Pennebaker for all the nights around the fire, and stories of the sea.

It's the back end of the season and the wind is bitter cold
It's just the sort of morning to make young bones feel old
The tanks are all topped off, we've got the permits free and clear
One more good haul could see us through until we start next year
Well it's my call alone to make and one I'd hate to blow
Six families now including mine dependent on the things I think I know.

I know the wind and water and I am not afraid
But living off the ocean is a complicated trade
I never get my profit margins or my pride confused
With the safety of this vessel or its good and hearty crew
But the time is now or never and the weather looks to hold
So I gather up the crew on deck, we bow our heads and pray before we go

St. Christopher protect us from the cold and stormy sea
Watch over all these fishermen who've put their trust in me
Never mind the salty spray or crashing of the waves
Bring us safely to our families and keep us from the grave
St. Christopher we call on you this day

I've fished in weather worse thatn this at least a hundred times
But I still can't shake the shivers that we are crawling up my spine
Eleven hours out the swells are getting deep
We can't put the nets out and it's too damn rough to sleep
If we stick it out 'til morning things may calm down with the light
But if it turns against us we'll be lucky if we see another night

St. Christopher protect us from the cold and stormy sea
Watch over all these fishermen who've put their trust in me
Never mind the salty spray or crashing of the waves
Bring us safely to our families and keep us from the grave
St. Christopher we call on you this day

Well it was on a night like this my father went away
Even though my mother begged and pleaded him to stay
I was standing there and waving as his trawler left the docks
Saw the pictures of the wreckage that they found upon the rocks
Seven men were rescued of the nine that left that day
The last they saw their captain he was on the bridge they swear they heard him say

"St. Christopher protect us from the cold and stormy sea
Watch over all these fishermen who've put their trust in me
Never mind the salty spray or crashing of the waves
Bring us safely to our families and keep us from the grave
St. Christopher we call on you this day"

Now the difference between bravery and foolishness is small
And a healthy sense of fear can bring perspective to us all
I know you men are hungry for the cash this catch could bring
And if we go back empty we'll be real tight come spring
But I've learned history's lesson and it isn't worth the pain
The things we stand to lose are so much greater than the things we have to gain

St. Christopher protect us from the cold and stormy sea
Watch over all these fishermen who've put their trust in me
Never mind the salty spray or crashing of the waves
Bring us safely to our families and keep us from the grave
St. Christopher we call on you this day

St. Christopher we call on you
Christopher we call on you
St. Christopher we thank you for this day.

© 2000 Joe Jencks

updated: 8 years ago