between the innocence of infancy
the recklessness of adultery comes that unique
specimen of humanity known as a seaman.
seamen can be found in bars, in arguments
in bed, in debt and intoxicated.
they are tall, short, fat, thin, dark, fair but never normal.
they dislike ships food, chief engineers, writing letters
sailing on saturdays and dry ships.
they like receiving mail, paying off day, nude pin ups,
sympathy, complaining and beer.
a seaman's secret ambition is to change positions
with the owner for just one trip, to own a brewery
and to be loved by everyone in the world.
a seaman is a sir galahad in a japanese brothel,
a psychiatrist with the reader's digest on the table,
don quixote with a discharge book,
the saviour of mankind with his backteeth awash,
valentino with e fiver in his pocket and
democracy personified in a red chinese prison cell.
no one is subject of so much abuse, wrongly accused,
so often misunderstood by so many as a seaman.
he has the patience of job, the honesty of a fool,
and the heaven sent ability to laugh at himself.
when he returns from a long voyage
no none but a seaman can create such an atmosphere
of suspense and longing as he walks through the door
with the magic words on his lips,
HAVE YOU GOT THE ALE IN THEN!!