Friday, November 4, 2016

My Ship

My Ship

She was a grand and elegant lady
So sleek and long and lean.
She was tall and proud and warm and cold
And in a fight she was hard and mean.
She was strong and fast and danced on the water,
Like a rainstorm in the spring.
She was dressed to kill from her mast to her keel,
And everything between.

She sailed out where the water’s blue,
The ocean’s deep, and the waves are high.
Out where every horizon you see,
Is the line between the sea and the sky.
Where the sea-winds blow the stinging spray
And the taste of salt is on your lips
Out there where the trackless ocean
Has carried men on countless ships

She was grey, not flashy or shiny like some
She wore the color of fog and haze
She cut the water like rapier blade
And sailed undaunted while underway
She crested waves and pitched back down
Or burst right through them sending spray
High above to the signal shack
Where it wet us down as we made headway

A fighter was what she was built to be
A Battle “E” she wore with pride
And flew our flag up high with honor
American Spirit upon the tide
We took her where our missions led us
She rode the storms on Poseidon’s domain
And protected her crew and kept her duty
And brought her sailors home again

A Tin Can afloat upon the sea
She wasn’t big, forty-five hundred tons
But she packed a hard punch wherever she went
With Torpedoes, Missiles, Asrocs, and Guns
She got there fast, some 30 knots
And the screws kept time with a lively beat
The head wind cut across the decks
While her stacks blew smoke and churned out heat

Past midnight running darkened ship
She was a shadow on the waves
The hum of her engines and the spread of her wake
Were the only signs she passed this way
The soft, silent light of a million stars
Lit her way across the deep
The midwatch crew was sailing her then
While the other sailors were trying to sleep

At dawns first light in silhouette
She was lovely beyond belief
On the broad, empty, flat horizon
She stood out dark in sharp relief
And sailed into a new day’s sunrise
As her crew rolled out to shower and shave
Drink coffee, do sweepers, eat, and muster
And groan about what’s in the Plan of the Day

She was a world traveler and went afar
She graced every sea-port where she made land fall
The people walked by and stared at the lady
And whispered and pointed, struck with awe.
They strolled down the docks looking her over
And admired her as they walked her length
They saw her when she was in port, resting
And they understood her strength

I first saw her pier-side quietly rocking
In the Chesapeake’s evening tide
I was young and she had some age
But something about her swelled my pride
Newer ships were there around her
All were part of a mighty fleet
But she was special, she was my ship
The minute her decks were beneath my feet

Down to the islands and up in the Bay
Out in the Med, or alone on the sea
A long hard chapter she wrote in my life
A deep seated part of what makes me, me.
I think of her now more fondly than then
Memories tend to grow mellow with time
We treasure the good and the bad things fade
But sea stories bring them all back to mind

She’s gone now, at least from this world
They said she was too old and they put her away
I saw the pictures where they cut her up
And sold her for scrap and hauled her away
But she’s never going to really be gone
She’s still in her sailors’ heart and soul
She lives for us, as long as we live
We carry her always, wherever we go.

Rest in silent peace grey lady
We’ll sail again before too long
Some guy will mention a place or something
And across the years we’ll be gone
We’ll laugh and tell a few old stories
Maybe stretched, but mostly true
And we’ll remember you, bitter-sweet
And lift a glass for you.

© 11/4/16 James L. Frady