A Pirate Looks At Forty

by Jimmy Buffett

from the album A1A


Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall
You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all

Watch the men who rode you
Switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasure
that few have ever seen, most of them dreams
Most of them dreams

Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late
The cannons don’t thunder there’s nothin’ to plunder
I’m an over forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late

I’ve done a bit of smugglin’
I’ve run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami
But I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last

I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I’ve got to stop wishin’
Got to go fishin’, I’m down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends, just a few friends


I go for younger women, lived with several awhile
And though I ran ‘em away, they’ll come back one day
And still could manage a smile
It just takes awhile, just takes awhile

Mother, mother ocean, after all these years I’ve found
My occupational hazard being my occupation
just not around
I feel like I’ve drowned
Gonna head uptown

Jimmy’s Note:

The real pirate’s name was Phillip Clark. He was one of the most unforgettable characters I met when I first lived in Key West, back in the days before it turned into a boutique. When I finished the song, I knew I had done him justice, and it is a fitting eulogy to an old friend. He died a few years ago under an alias, washed up on a beach near San Francisco. They flew his body back to Key West where some of his ashes were scattered at sea, and some still sit above the cash register in the Full Moon Saloon.