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[ Prayers & Poems ]

Crew 1946

Officers Jan./46




Naval & Military Poems and Prayers


A Prayer For Those Lost In Battle

For Those In Peril On The Sea

En Voyage

Home Is The Sailor

How Long You Been In The Navy?

Sea Fever

A Sailors Christmas

The Old Man And The Sailor

The Tale Of The Gyascutus

The Yarn Of The Nancy Bell

A Sailors Prayer



A Prayer for those lost in battle



O  God  and  Father  of  us  all,  we  gather  in  sincere  gratitude  for  all  those  who,  at  their  countryís  call,  have  met  the  rude  shock of  battle  and  have  surrendered  their  lives  amid the  ruthless  brutalities  of  war.   Forbid  that  their  suffering  and  death should  be  in  vain.   We  beseech  you  that,  through  their  devotion  to  duty  and  suffering,  the horrors  of  war  may  pass  from  earth  and  that  your  kingdom  of  right  and  honor,  of  peace  and  brotherhood,  may  be  established  among  men.   Comfort,  O  Lord,  all  who  mourn  the  loss  of  those  near  and  dear  to  them,  especially  the  families of  our  departed  brothers.   Support  them  by  your love.   Give  them  faith  to  look  beyond  the  trials  of  the  present and  to  know  that  neither  life  nor  death  can  separate  us  from  the  love  and  care  of  Christ  Jesus,  in whose  name  we  pray.            Amen.





Eternal Father, Strong to save

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave

Who bids the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep

Oh, hear us when we cry to thee

For those in peril on the sea.




En Voyage

Carlyle Emery

THEREíS a ship sailing on to a harbor,

To a haven of comfort and rest;

Itís a ship of Godís fashion and making,

And its voyage by Him will be blest.

It departed with silence and beauty,

With the Master, Himself, in command;

As with dignity truly majestic

It sailed out of sight of all land.

There will always be clear skies above it;

There will always be calmness below

There will never be storms to harass it,

For the Master is on it, you know,

And His wisdom will carry it safely

To the port of His infinite peace,

Where the light of His love will protect it

With a blessing that never will cease.

You have watched it sail onward and outward,

With a tear of regret in your eye,

For a loved one was sailing upon it,

And thereís grief when youíre saying goodbye.

But your tears would be tears of rejoicing.

And your heart would be happy and free,

If you could look for only a moment

On that ship that is sailing to sea.

For the one you have loved is at leisure,

With no worry or trouble or care;

Thereís contentment beyond understanding,

In the way Godís passengers fare.

And youíd know from your own observation

That the sailing was joyful--not grim,

For it means a new life and new living,

And a sweet, closer contact with Him.

Oh, the solace there is in the knowledge,

Life is life and it always will be,

And itís simply a change of direction

When we sail on His ship out to sea.

And the tears that we shed for our loved ones

Are in truth shed for us left behind,

For it hurts to give up to the Master,

Tho we know He is gentle and kind.

So believe in His great and good wisdom,

Trust in Him, as you patiently wait;

On His ship God is ever the pilot,

And the one you have loved is the mate.




Under the wide starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie

Glad that I lived, and gladly die

And I laid me down with a will

This be the verse you grave for me

Here he lies where he longed to be

Home is the sailor, home from the sea

And the hunter home from the hill


How long you been in the Navy?

All me bloomin life, sir

Me mother was a mermaid

Me Father was King Neptune

I was born on the crest of a wave

And rocked in the cradle of the deep

Seaweed and barnacles are me clothes

Every tooth in me head is a marlin spike

And the hair on me head is hemp

Every Bone in me body is a spar

And when I spits, I spits tar

Iís hard, I is, I am, I are

Sea Fever


by John Masefield



I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.


I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over



A Sailors Christmas



Twas the night before Christmas, and he lived in a crowd,

In a 40 man berthing, with shipmates so loud.

I had come down the exhaust stack with presents to give,

And to see just who in this rack did live.

I looked all about, and a strange sight I did see,

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stockings were hung, just boots close at hand,

On the bulkhead hung pictues of far distant lands.

He had medals and badges and awards of all kind,

And a sobering thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, it was so dark and dreary,

I had found the home of a Sailor, this I could see clearly.

The Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,

Curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the berthing in such good order,

But not how I pictured a United States Sailor.

Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?

Defending his country so we all could be free?

I realized the families that I've seen this night,

Owed their lives to these Sailors who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world, the children would play,

And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,

Because of the Sailors, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve, on a sea far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The sailor awakened and I heard a rough voice,

"Santa, don't cry, for this life is my choice."

"Defend the seas this day, the peace do I keep."

The sailor then rolled over and drifted to sleep,

I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours so silent, so still,

And we both shivered from the night's cold chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,

This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the Sailor rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,

Whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas ... All is Secure."





by Robert L. Harrison .

July 22, 1997 . Greenfield, Indiana



He was old and worn and a bit forlorn as he ambled through the park, 

He spoke to me and I could see that his eyes had lost their spark.

His gait was slow and his voice was low as he asked to sit with me,

And I answered him with a friendly grin, The sittiní here is free.

He gave a smile and we talked a while and his voice was rather weak, 

But his mind was strong and it wasn't long til he began to speak

Of yesteryears and I saw the tears as the memíries flooded through

For he spoke of times and other climes as old men often do.

He smiled at me and I could see as he glanced at my Navy blues 

That heíd earned his keep on the briny deep and paid his share of dues.

I asked if he would share with me some mem'ries from his career,

He said he might if the price was right, and the price was a can of beer!

Iíve shipped on subs and oily tubs, on battleships and cruisers,

Ten thousand mates and I can state not one of them was losers.

LSTís on foreign seas, from Tarawa to Leyte,

You name it, lad, Iíve been there, from Alaska down to Haiti.

Liberty ships of paper clips, balsa wood and glue,

I saw one break apart one time and lose her gallant crew.

Marine Corps I took ashore on Tarawa and Truk.

Oh what the Hell, for quite a spell, I've had my share of luck.

One thing more, he said, before I move along,

There ain't no air thatís quite as fair as the pipe of the boatswainís song.

And the place to be is on the sea riding a fair sea swell,

With mates like you in Navy blue whoíll follow you straight through Hell.

So hereís to you and your Navy crew who take our ships to sea, 

Youíve fought and died and never cried throughout our history.

Youíre heroes all and ten feet tall and your spirits never lag,

Youíre the nationís best and you never rest in defense of our countryís flag!

He rose to leave and I believe that he seemed to move much faster, 

His eyes agleam like a laser beam and his skin was alabaster,

He glowed at first then soon dispersed in a cloud of misty cotton,

A dream at most, perhaps a ghost, but not to be forgotten.




In a family scrapbook dating back to 1884 a correspondent discovers the amusing old Navy poem, "The Tale of the Gyascutus," for which inquiry was made last week. It is without date, but is credited to the Detroit Free Press, and under the title "A Sailor's Yarn" is given as follows:

This is the tale that was told to me

By a battered and shattered son of the sea--

To me and my messmate, Silas Green,

When I was a guileless young marine.



'Twas the good ship Gyascutus,

All in the China seas,

With the wind a-lee and the capstan free

To catch the summer breeze.



'Twas Captain Porgie on the deck,

To his mate in the mizzen hatch,

While the boatswain bold in the forward hold,

Was winding his larboard watch.



"Oh, how does our good ship head to-night?

How heads our gallant craft?"

"Oh, she heads to the E.S.W. by N.,

And the binnacle lies abaft!"



"Oh, what does the quadrant indicate,

And how does the sextant stand?"

"Oh, the sextant's down to the freezing point,

And the quadrant's lost a hand!"



"Oh, and if the quadrant has lost a hand,

And the sextant falls so low,

It's our bodies and bones to Davy Jones

This night are bound to go!"



"Oh, fly aloft to the garboard strake!

And reef the spanker boom;

Bend a studding sail on the martingale

To give her weather room."



"Oh, boatswain, down in the for'ard hold,

What water do you find?"

"Four foot and a half by the royal gaff

And rather more behind!"



"Oh, sailors, collar your marlin spikes

And each belaying pin;

Come stir your stumps and spike the pumps,

Or more will be coming in."



They stirred their stumps, they spiked the pumps,

They spliced the mizzen brace;

Aloft and alow they worked, but oh!

The water gained apace.



They bored a hole above the keel

To let the water out;

But strange to say, to their dismay,

The water in did spout.



Then up spoke the cook of our gallant ship

And he was a lubber brave;

"I have several wives in various ports,

And my life I'd orter save."



Then up spoke the Captain of Marines,

Who dearly loved his prog;

"It's awful to die, and it's worse to be dry,

And I move we pipes to grog."



Oh, then 'twas the noble second mate

What filled them all with awe;

The second mate, as bad men hate,

And cruel skippers jaw.



He took the anchor on his back

And leaped into the main;

Through foam and spray he clove his way,

And sunk and rose again.



Through foam and spray, a league away

The anchor stout he bore;

Till, safe at last, he made it fast,

And warped the ship ashore!



'Tain't much of a job to talk about,

But a ticklish thing to see;

And suth'in to do, if I say it too,

For that second mate was me!



Such was the tale that was told to me,

By that modest and truthful son of the sea,

And I envy the life of a second mate

Though captains curse him and sailors hate,

For he ain't like some of the swabs I've seen,

As would go and lie to a poor marine.



The Yarn of the Nancy Bell

Attributed to William Schwenck Gilbert

(English 1836-1911)



'Twas on the shores that round our coast

From Deal to Ramsgate span,

That I found alone on a piece of stone

An elderly naval man.


His hair was weedy, his beard was long

And weedy and long was he;

And I heard this wight on the shore recite,

In a singular minor key:-


"Oh, I am the cook, and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captains' gig."


"O elderly man, it's little I know

Of the duties of men of the sea,

And I'll eat my hand if I understand

However you can be


And he shook his fists and tore his hair,

'Till I really felt afraid,

For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,

And so I simply said:-


"At once a cook, and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And a bo'sun tight, and midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain's gig."


And he gave a hitch to his trousers, which

Is a trick that all seaman larn,

And having got rid of a thumping quid,

He spun his painful yarn:-


"'Twas on the good ship Nancy Bell

That we sailed to the Indian Sea,

And there on a reef we come to grief,

Which has often occurred to me.


"And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned

(There were seventy-seven o'soul),

And only ten of the Nancy's men

Said 'Here!' to the muster roll.


"There was me and the cook and the captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And the bo'sun tight and midshipmite,

And the crew of the captain's gig.


"For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,

Till a-hungry we did feel;

So we drawed a lot, and accordin', shot

The captain for our meal.


The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,

And a delicate dish he made;

Then our appetite with the midshipmite

We seven survivors stayed.


"And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,

And he much resembled a pig;

Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,

On the crew of the captain's gig.


"Then only the cook and me was left,

And the delicate question, 'Which

Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose,

And we argued it out as sich.


"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,

And the cook he worshipped me;

But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed

In the other chap's hold, you see.


"I'll be eat if you dines of me,' says Tom;

'Yes, that' says I, 'you'll be:

I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I;

And 'Exactly so,' quoth he.


"Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me

Were a foolish thing to do,

For don't you see that you can't cook me,

While I can - and will - cook you?'


"So he boils the water, and takes the salt

And the pepper in portions true

(Which he never forgot), and some chopped shallot,

And some sage and parsley too.


"'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,

Which his smiling features tell;

"'Twill soothing be if I let you see

How extremely nice you'll smell.'


"And he stirred it round and round and round,

And he sniffed at the foaming froth;

When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals

In the scum of the boiling broth.


"'And I eat that cook in a week or less,

And - as I eating be

The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,

For a vessel in sight I see!


"And I never larf, and I never smile,

And I never lark nor play,

But sit and croak, and a single joke

I have - which is to say: -


"Oh, I am the cook, and a captain bold,

And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,

And the crew of the captains' gig."


A Sailors Prayer