What am I?

by Mike Hemming
 
 

My eyes have seen the red sun rise over the turtle back

In the North Atlantic.

They have seen the sun set behind Mt Fuji from the cigarette deck

In the war torn Pacific.

And squinted through a periscope at Russian spy trawlers

From Cape Canaveral to the Bering Sea.

Smiling eyes have looked from a McCann rescue chamber to greet

Fearful eyes in the Squalus on the cold Atlantic floor.

Seen St. Elmo's fires ghostly green dance down the long wire in the Med

The green flash of the sun in the Caribbean.

Watched happiness light up families eyes

On our return to grey piers during a war cold and long.

These eyes have watched many come and go

But they forever remain Brothers of the Dolphin.

My ears have heard the click of Nippon's depth charge pistols

And the screaming screws of Mk 14's sent in return.

They have rung from the thunder of big diesel engines

And blasts of 6 inch guns, and the crack of 40 millimeter weapons.

Listened to the sound of 2 blasts of the diving alarm

Been eager to hear the words, surface, surface, surface.

We have heard sea stories old and new, tried and true

Over bars and beer glasses round the world.

Chipping hammers, hissing wakes, whale songs and wars hateful clamor

They are all sounds that have come to my ears.

On deck my nose has sampled sea air sweet

And below air foul and fetid with CO2.

Today it yearns sometimes for a whiff

Of smoke and the stink of yesteryear.

My hands have peeled spuds, pulled throttle levers and triggers

Handled lines from tropic seas and opened hatches at the pole.

Now bent and stiff but quick to straighten and salute our flag.

They are always ready to slap a mate on the back

And give a helping hand to those in need.

My heart yearns to be on the land of the free

And yearns again to be at sea.

It is filled with pride at morning colors

When the lonely notes of Taps is played for the fallen.

To see Dolphins pinned on another proud chest.

Sometimes my hearts pride is touched with sadness

When I remember those that sailed before

Never to return, 62 boats and some 4000 men

Forever to rest on the oceans deep floor.

What am I?

For over 100 years from the Holland until today

I have been a submarine sailor of the United States of America.

I will go to sea for 100 score

Until this land needs me no more

That is what I will be.

 

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