What do you say?

by Mike Hemming

When a shipmate passes on?

When a smiling face is gone?

Someone who was always there.

Through thick and thin.

Who laughed at you when you fell

While he was pulling you to your feet.

The one that gave you

A rough time on your quals.

When you got your dolphins

He slapped you on the back,

And said I’m buying next time at Bells.

The guy that stayed behind to help

Then loaned you his last clean jumper.

So you could hit the beach together.

The mate that you staggered back with

The one always guarded your back.

On board he relieved you early for some much needed rest.

Brought you coffee just the way you liked

When passing through your compartment.

He sometimes called you ugly and stupid

And laughed at your stupid mistakes.

Then sat and listened while you told him of problems

And helped you through the rough spots.

If he stayed in while you were out,

He checked on your family to see if they were OK.

And went and got a new battery for your car.

The one that stood his ground with you,

When the smoke got thick

Or the water got deep.

He is still a shipmate

After all these years.

What do you say?

The same thing he would say.

Standing on the shore at night,

Looking out on a moonlight sea.

“Rest your oar, Mate“,

“For we will sail together again one day.”