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Lay for the Day
11th June


1910: the birthday of Jacques Cousteau, oceanographer, inventor, author and film-maker.
The television series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, was a treat to watch when I was a kid. He may have done more to make us humans aware of the life of the sea – and thus help protect it from us – than any other man. He achieved this not only through his books and films (which won three Oscars, and a Palme d’Or at Cannes), but also through his invention of the aqualung or scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), which was first made generally available in 1946. Jacques Cousteau died in Paris on 25th June 1997.


Sea People


Rocked in the stormy waters,
Lulled in the shining sea,
Racing the waves of the Roaring Forties,
Chasing through the warm Gulf Stream,
Oh they never worked a day or made a thing
And they haven’t got much to be proud of,
But they know how to play and how to sing
And they know how to love.
They know how to love

Many a lost seafarer,
No more would walk on land,
Would lie on the ocean floor now
Without their strength to hand,
Who feel for us in danger
And look on a man as a friend.
Though they never worked a day or made a thing…

Never made a chain or made a law,
Never made a neighbour starve or go to war,
Never heard a tale of death or glory
Since heaven blessed them with the seven seas.

Rocked in the darkest waters
Beyond the last light’s gleam,
Racing the waves of the Roaring Forties,
Chasing through the warm Gulf Stream,
They never worked a day or made a thing
And they haven’t got much to be proud of,
But they know how to play and how to sing
And they know how to love.
They know how to love

 

Words and music by The Children
from Equals

 

 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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