Lazy spring days rolling by
Without the glimmer of a care
Were always reflected in the eyes
Of those who lived by the shore-
Sultry spring and summer days
Lay unannounced by eager boys
Who, standing at the water's edge,
Told the greenies of whaling's 'joys'-
And still, the sun shone merrily down
Making the beach hot as Davy Jones-
And barefoot boys laughed and played
And still taunted the greenies.
The bustle in the streets of town
Went unnoticed by them; they were
Too busy playing with the lubbers
From the mainland, trying to get a taste of whaling-
The business that kept their island alive.
They ran along the beach, uncaring
Of the heat- they could take more
Their mothers didn't care
And many of their fathers were out at sea-
So that eliminated the chance of them caring, either.
Nantucket had always been something unto itself
And there was no difference that day-
The boys all knew it, didn't think about it-
They were too busy playing with the greenie's minds.
What a delightful game.
Barrels of oil lined the docks
Thick sheaves of baleen, sometimes, drying in the sun
For all the world looking like tall grass
Growing under the sunlight.
The great whaling vessels themselves were being outfitted,
Some were returning- only for immediate reprovisioning
While the shipowners pinched pennies
And counted the profits from the last voyage-
While greenies returning from their first trips
Frivolously spent their hard-earned cash
In waterfront bars
And houses of sin.
The Nantucket mothers didn't particularly like that.
But they didn't care about their children's play-
They let their boys mess with that rabble
Because they knew that, when young,
Taunting the greenies was undeniably fun.
The waters of the harbor
Glinted gold under the sun's rays,
Casting blinding variations of the
Aurora borealis
On the island-
And the already shining faces of the waterfront whaler's boys
Who were having fun taunting the greenies.
"Look at the greenies,
Gone ilein'!
Watch out for the whale,
Yeh greenies-
He don't take too kindly
To bein' stuck by irons!"
While out across the sea
Their fathers, brothers
Cousins
Relatives
All hunted the whale- the livelihood of their island
That kept the little spit of sand called Nantucket alive-
But their livelihood was bought with a price-
Human lives
And they all knew it.
But the people of Nantucket didn't care-
Because, deep down, they were all like the waterfront boys-
Laughing, playing, running barefoot across sand hot as Davy Jones's flames
And taunting the greenies-
Dreaming of a life at sea
And, in turn, keeping their island alive.
But until then, the whaler's boys
Danced under the sun
And laughed at the greenies.