My Dear Sweet Lady

I was but a boy of seventeen,
Still wet behind the ears
When I waved goodbye to mom and dad
And manned up against the tears

Twas then my first time on my own
Not counting Camp Hiawatha
I knew no one on the Greyhound bus
As we rolled south out of Tampa

The ride was long into Miami
The motel sure wasn’t home
But we pooled our money soon enough
On the beer we got quite stoned

Next day eyes red and stomach churning
The doctor said to me
“Whenever you hurl over the side
Make sure you face alee”

My schoolin’ done and seabag packed
I hustled to the pier
I scrambled up the gangway
And saluted my lady dearVinson

We bid farewell to wives and lovers
And when we sank the land
Why, there was no more looking back
For what’s the use in that?

At sea there is no cause to worry
About the ways back home
There isn’t much a man need do
When his ship is house and home

She rode the waves like a thoroughbred
Fairly galloping across the sea
At night she whispered ‘neath the stars
Then rocked me asleep with ease

Four hours on four hours off
Tiptoeing around the clock
The only time I slept all night
She was tied up to the dock.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complainin’
The sleep is not important
Though harsh my steel lady be
Her love for me was potent

030131-N-5884W-034 She took me to all seven seas
And back to Pearl town
In and out too oft to count
Around sun’s ups and downs

She’s always been a lady of action
Never late nor out of fashion
She brooked no lazy skylarkin’
And never feared to deliver a thrashin’

She sailed sharp into harm’s way
Never shying from a fight
She never showed her teeth lest pressed
Then let her guns sound off her might

She cared for souls from Forrestal
Aye, and from unlucky Belknap too
The Thresher though she could not help
The Captain nor his crew

TripoliShe hauled aboard the astronauts
Returning from their glory
And stood alongside Tripoli
When a mine made part of her story

The sea was always good to me
My ship my love and pride
Though liberty was full of fun
I couldn’t wait to catch my tide

I never met the maid I favored
Enough to make my bride
Or maybe she took one look at me
And knew who kept my side

For never was there any doubt
In my mind or anyone else’s
The only bride I cared to take
Was measured by beam and displacement

I’ve sailed now for a number of years
Two score less three to be exact
From seventeen to fifty-four
Leaving then an old crackerjack

I look back on those steady years
Where could the time have flown?
My sweet dear lady sails no more
We’re both pierside and done

15 thoughts on “My Dear Sweet Lady

  1. Beautiful! My husband who passed away a couple of weeks ago was a Navy man and loved the sea. He would have loved this poem. I salute you and all the armed forces today on their special day!

    Liked by 1 person

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