Fairport Convention – The Islands lyrics

We do not fear the long ships,
We’ve seen longships before.
Men sailed here from the Northlands
And hauled their boats ashore.

They brought with them their music,
Their language and their lore
And they burned their boats and stayed here on the Islands.

It’s midday in the wintertime,
Before the moon goes pale.
The winter songs are very long;
The storm winds and the gales.

The midnightsun’s as distant
As the calling of the whales
‘Til spring returns again to paint the Islands.

The grey seals and the otter,
The salmon and the char,
The land locked and the sea trapped,
The free birds in the air,

The shepherd and the farmer
And all those in their care
Harmonise the music of the Islands.

We never feared the long ships
‘Till the coming of the Braer,
The roaring sea in anger threw
That broken boat ashore.

Spilled fuel enough to take that ship
Twice round the world or more.
Filled the air with oil to paint the Islands.

As if the sea had realised
The tragedy in store,
Its waves continued pounding
About a week or more.

Most of the crude was washed away
And never came ashore
And the sea regained its temper round the Islands.

So may this be a warning
To those whose faceless greed
Would sail close to our shoreline,
To save both fuel and speed:

The sea is our protector,
Provider of our needs
And a jealous guard and keeper of these Islands.

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