HERRING CROON – The Last Verse

©2009 Gordon Bok, BMI


Gordon – 12-string “Bell” guitar


You can hear the original song (which I wrote in1965) on “Herrings in the Bay” –



Some fishermen I know have said that the last time the herring fishery was sustainable was when we were weir-seining, the way we learned from the Native Americans.  Some still fish that way in the Canadian Maritimes.

“Now those big corporation-boats are midwater-fishing, even in the spawning grounds: we never did that. When we were fishing herring, they stood half a chance.” – Frank Wiley, Maine fisherman.

“If a storm breaks off a stem of kelp, it’ll be growing back in seven days. Do you know what the bottom looks like after half a ton of otter trawl has gone over it? If it’s rock, it’s polished bare. If it’s sand or mud, it looks like the moon. That’s no habitat for any species.” – Gary Cook, New Brunswick fisherman.



Where have you gone, little herring?

What have you seen, tail and fin?

Cold and black, dead and dark, bottom torn away

Draggers staving everywhere, drug this garden dry

Pair trawl, mid-water trawl :

(God, they hungered after me)

Tore my home to hell and gone

There’s no more place for me



Herring Croon is recorded on the albums Clear Away in the Morning, Herrings in the Bay, Jeremy Brown and Jeannie Teal  (original version on these albums) and Other Eyes (new last verse only) and is in the songbook Time and the Flying Snow