Old sailors sit and jaw
'bout how things used to be.
Of things they've seen
And places they've been,
When they ventured out to sea.
They remember friends of long ago
And good times they had back then.
Of money they've spilled
And beer they've swilled,
In their days as sailing men.
Their lives are lived in days gone by,
With thoughts that forever last.
Of Dixie cup hats
And bell bottom blues,
The good times in their past.
They recall long nights with a moon so bright,
Far out on a lonely sea.
And thoughts they had
As a youthful lad,
When their lives were untamed and free.
They remember so well how their hearts did swell,
When the flag fluttered proud and free.
And the stars and stripes
Made such a beautiful sight,
As they plowed through the angry sea.
They talk of fresh bread old Cookie would bake,
And the shrill of the Bosun's pipe.
And how the salt spray
Felt like sparks from hell,
When a storm struck during the night.
They remember mates already gone,
Who'll forever hold a spot.
In the stories of old
When sailors were bold,
And lubbers a pitiful lot.
They rode their ships through many a storm,
When the sea was showing its might.
And the mighty waves
Tried to dig 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 downed
As they gathered around,
Cracking jokes with a busty whore.
Their sailing days have 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,
Their chits in this life called in.
But they've nothing to lose
For they've paid their dues,
And they'll sail with their shipmates again.
I've heard them say before getting underway,
That there's still some sailing to do.
They exclaim with a grin
That their ship has come in,
And their God is commanding the crew.
by Larry Dunn
RMCM(SS)(NAC), USN Ret.
June 4, 2001