By Michael Ciaccio
In days gone by in ships of wood
A sailor did what a sailor could
In war or peace they sailed the seas
A special breed of men are these
In troubled waters or seas o'fair
Steering a course where no man dares
As in the past is true today
They boldly sail into harm's way
Oh God protect these valiant men
And bring them safely home again
To open arms and kisses warm
Protect these warriors from every harm
When faces wrinkle and beards grow grey
Minesweep sailors will gather and say
Forgive us our faults, forgive us our sins
Where the fleet goes, we've already been.
I Stood the Mid-Watch
The ship plies the waters of the Pacific,
As calm as the name of the sea she sails.
Safe and secure within the peace of quiet,
Eyes and ears aware, because I stood the Mid-Watch.
Others may sleep and dream of life ashore,
And feel the arms of those they love.
Underway without concern or fear,
Free of dread, while I stood the Mid-Watch.
Early to bed, get the rest I need,
Messenger rouses, so I will be on time.
Mid-rations and coffee, to clear the webs,
So that I could be alert, while I stood the Mid-Watch.
Most of the crew hate the interruption of slumber,
The staggering, mind numbing struggle to wake
From Orpheus' peaceful realm at midnight,
To climb the ladder to the bridge, where I stood the Mid-Watch.
But seldom do I sleep more hours than four.
And then become drowsy after another four.
That circadian rhythm that frees me from the norm,
And allows me to stand the Mid-Watch.
Early supper, rations at night,
Late breakfast, make my night complete,
And then the normal work of a normal day,
So I will be ready to stand the Mid-Watch.
Weather may be foul, seas may be high,
Winds may fling salt spray in our teeth,
It matters not the bite of cold,
It matters only that someone, I, stands the Mid-Watch.
A quarter to four, my relief arrives,
Another night spent at rest.
Eight hours of sleep, a needed respite,
While I stood the Mid-Watch.
I enjoy from twelve to four,
Left alone, to scan the horizon,
Lookouts and messengers aware,
While we stand the Mid-Watch.
Three on the bridge, one in CIC,
one in the engineroom,
Coffee and cigarettes to keep us awake,
Five men, who all stand the Mid-Watch.
Five out of thirtyfive gently sleeping souls,
In comfort, knowing all is serene,
The Ship, the Fleet, the Nation are safe,
Because we stood the Mid-Watch.
Author: Mike Goss
AN ODE TO DUTCH SCHULTZE
Twas the week before Christmas
And all through the sea
Not a ship was stirring
Except the Phoebe
The C boats were nestled
All snug at the pier
Their crews were downtown
Sucking up beer
While out by Ogami
The Phoebe streamed gear
And hoped they would make it
In time for New Years
REFTRA is over
And so is Admin
But our mighty Phoebe
Still wont come in
ORI is next
And we will be best
Because if we arent
There will be no rest
Standby your stations
The gear is a mess
We hit paydirt again
Did you expect less???
While coordination of movement
In Kure was bad
Heres something else
That made us look sad
The rest of the ships
Were moored to the pier
While the Phoebe was anchored
With O type gear
The plan of the day
Said at four oclock
Wed be moored to the pier
NOT TO A ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another op in sight
Just as we feared
But may we ask you
Well close with those words
From that jolly old sprite
Merry Christmas to all
Now how about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old sailors sit and chew the fat
'bout how things used to be
of the things they've seen
and places they've been
When they ventured out to sea.
They remember friends from long ago
and the times they had back then
of the money they've spilled
and the beer they've swilled
In their days as sailing men.
Their lives are lived in days gone by
with thoughts that forever last
of cracker-jack hats
and bell-bottom blues
and the good times in their past.
They recall long nights with a moon so bright
far out on a lonely sea
and the thoughts they had
as youthful lads
When their lives were unbridled and free.
They know so well how their hearts would swell
when the flag fluttered proud and free
and the stars and the stripes
made such beautiful sights
as they plowed through an angry sea.
They talk of the bread ole' cookie would bake
and the shrill of the boatsun's pipe
and how the salt spray fell
like sparks out of hell
when a storm struck in the night.
They remember mates already gone
who forever hold a spot
In the stories of old
when sailors were bold
and lubbers were a pitiful lot.
They rode their ships through many a storm
when the sea was showing its might
And the mighty waves
might be digging their graves
as they sailed on through the night.
They speak of nights in a bawdy house
somewhere on a foreign shore
and the beer they'd down
as they gathered around
cracking jokes with a busty whore.
Their sailing days are gone away
never more will they cross the brow
But they have no regrets
for they know they've been blessed
'cause they honored their sacred vow.
Their numbers grow less with each passing day
as their chits in this life are called in
But they've nothing to lose
for they've all paid their dues
and they'll sail with their shipmates again.
I've heard them say before getting underway
that there's still some sailin' to do
and they'll exclaim with a grin
that their ship has come in
and the Lord is commanding the crew.
June 4, 2001
OLD SAILORS SIT AND CHEW THE FAT
ABOUT THINGS THAT USED TO BE,
OF THE THINGS THEY'VE SEEN,
THE PLACES THEY'VE BEEN,
WHEN THEY VENTURED OUT TO SEA.
THEY REMEMBERED FRIENDS FROM LONG AGO,
THE TIMES THEY HAD BACK THEN.
THE MONEY THEY SPENT,
THE BEER THEY DRANK,
IN THEIR DAYS AS SAILING MEN.
THEIR LIVES ARE LIVED IN DAYS GONE BY,
WITH THOUGHTS THAT FOREVER LAST.
OF BELL BOTTOM BLUES,
WINGED WHITE HATS,
AND GOOD TIMES IN THEIR PAST.
THEY RECALL LONG NIGHTS WITH A MOON SO BRIGHT
FAR OUT ON A LONELY SEA.
THE THOUGHTS THEY HAD
AS YOUTHFUL LADS,
WHEN THEIR LIVES WERE WILD AND FREE.
THEY KNEW SO WELL HOW THEIR HEARTS WOULD SWELL
WHEN OLD GLORY FLUTTERED PROUD AND FREE.
THE UNDERWAY PENNANT
SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT
AS THEY PLOWED THROUGH AN ANGRY SEA.
THEY TALKED OF THE CHOW OL' COOKIE WOULD MAKE
AND THE SHRILL OF THE BOSUN'S PIPE.
HOW SALT SPRAY WOULD FALL
LIK E SPARKS FROM HELL
WHEN A STORM STRUCK IN THE NIGHT.
THEY REMEMBER OLD SHIPMATES ALREADY GONE
WHO FOREVER HOLD A SPOT IN THEIR HEART,
WHEN SAILORS WERE BOLD,
AND FRIENDSHIPS WOULD HOLD,
UNTIL DEATH RIPPED THEM APART.
THEIR SAILING DAYS ARE GONE AWAY,
NEVER AGAIN WILL THEY CROSS THE BROW.
THEY HAVE NO REGRETS,
THEY KNOW THEY ARE BLESSED,
FOR HONORING A SACRED VOW.
THEIR NUMBERS GROW LESS WITH EACH PASSING DAY
AS THE FINAL MUSTER BEGINS,
THERE'S NOTHING TO LOSE,
ALL HAVE PAID DUES,
AND THEY'LL SAIL WITH SHIPMATES AGAIN.
I'VE HEARD THEM SAY BEFORE GETTING UNDERWAY
THAT THERE'S STILL SOME SAILING TO DO,
THEY'LL SAY WITH A GRIN
THAT THEIR SHIP HAS COME IN
AND THE LORD IS COMMANDING THE CREW.