Collage: "Pretty"

Words & Music © 2005 Gordon Bok


Through many years on the water, mostly along this coast and a few others, I've heard a lot of things, and have recently been jotting them down as I remember them.  This is some parts of conversations strung together and sung.  I've interspersed it with one side of a conversation I heard on marine radio a few years ago – that's the spoken part.  Memory is a drifty thing, as my brother and I enjoyed proving, so the words may be more mine than theirs, but the stories and the sentiments are true as the day they happened.


Gordon – Spanish Guitar



Lord, lord, lord, ain't it pretty today?

With the sky all quilted over like a mattress, soft and gray

See every twig and pebble on the islands up the bay

And the wind away….

Hey, hey, hey; pretty today



Hey Pete – you on this one*?

Yeah, it's me.  I been hauling over here under the Blockhouse all morning.

   Look – is that you in there by the Sears bell?

I though that looked like you.  Uh… you've been kind of… stationary in

   there for awhile.  Is everything alright?

Aw, that's a bummer.  I expect you've cleaned your filters, bled her out,

   looked at the aircleaner, like-a-that?

Naw, God, beyond that, I dunno.  Could be injectors, anything I guess.

Anyway, I think I'll go over to TurtleHead: I've got a couple of strings in there and

   if I can get to them, maybe I can catch up to myself a little this week.

   So look, if there's anything I've got that you can use, I'll be in the

   neighborhood.  You will let me know, won't ya?

Well, good enough; I'll leave you to it, then.  I'll be on this channel, anyway.



Poor old boats

They're nothing but a flaming

    Construct of the Mind

Nothing but a pile of man-made notions

Steel and plastic – spells and potions –

They've got nothing to do with the ocean or the wind

Nothing to do with the water or the wind


Damned old things

Yeah they're nothing but a flaming construct of the mind

Nothing but a flaming fabrication

Some damned human machination

And we wonder why they won't keep a-running on their own

Wonder why they don't keep running on their own


Oh, but someday the world's going to give a great old shake –

Blow us all to hell-and-gone off here

And I know for one that the ocean wouldn't mind

And you can bet your boots that the wind won't even care…



Oh – oh – here we go…

Hey Pete! I know you're busy, but stick your nose up

   outa there and talk to me for a minute, will ya?

Yes – you are in kinda close.  Look, I've got a line made up right here –

   why don't I slide in by your stern and we twitch you

   right outa there?

Yeah, that looks good to me.  I'll just poke along easy;

   we got all day.  Hell, we got all night, if we need it.

No, buddy, don't even think about it.  Next week it'll be me

   out there, we both know that.  Look, you talk to Rosie,

   you give her my best, won't ya?



I don't dream of sailor's heaven, I won't sing of Fiddler's Green

I'm not looking for a fairer world than the one I've always known

I just drive her when she rises and slack her when she falls

And hope I never get to reap all the foolishness I've sown


No, I don't dream of sailor's heaven, I don't sing of Fiddler's Green

I'm not looking for a kinder world than the one I've always seen

I just ease her when she pitches and catch her when she rolls

And get her in before the devil knows we're out here


Lord, lord, lord…. pretty today



* a particular marine radio channel (not 16)




Collage: "Pretty" is recorded on the album In Concert