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Fragile Sea, song lyrics

Song: Fragile Sea
Lyrics: Malvina Reynolds

Music: Malvina Reynolds
Year: 1973
Genre: Folk
Country: USA

Our fathers knew the ocean as a friendly enemy,
They took their equal chances in the storm.
They trusted in the sail, they fought the mighty whale,
They played like sunny children on the shore.

The sea, the sea, the fragile sea.
Our source, our provider and our road to liberty.
Now we use it as a dump hole in this mad economy,
And we never will survive a dying sea.

Our sister is the sea bird, our brother is the gar,
The smallest plankton creatures as important as we are.
The chain of life's been moving thru a hundred million years,
We cut it at our peril and the pipeline is the shears.
This song was originally posted on

Do you see the seagull dead in his integument of tar,
Who was once a soaring creature of the sky?
It's the oil company that's now the ruler of the sea
That makes ocean and its children fail and die.


Have you seen the crystal waters of the North Canadian coast?
That's how this planet's oceans used to be.
With our muscle and our brain we must make it so again,
For we never will survive a dying sea.



1 - Never recorded by her, but included in her Malvina Reynolds Songbook.

2 - Malvina Reynolds on Wikipedia. This song is posted with permission of her daughter Nancy Schimmel.