An Ancient Mariner

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 sitting 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 his memories came 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 he'd earned his keep on the briny deep and paid his share of dues.
I asked if he would share with me some memories from his career,
He said he might if the price was right, and the price was a can of
beer! "I've shipped on subs and oily tubs, on battleships and cruisers,
Ten thousand mates and I hereby states that none of them was losers.
LSTs on foreign seas, from Tarawa on to Leyte,
You name it, lad, I've been there glad, from Alaska down to Haiti."
"Liberty ships made of paper clips, balsa wood, and glue,
I saw one break apart one time and lose her gallant crew.
Men of the 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 looked at the door, "before I move along.
There ain't no air that's quite as fair as the pipe of the bosun's
song. And the place to be is a ship at sea a-riding a fair sea swell,
With mates like you in Navy blue who'll follow you straight through
Hell." "So here's to you and your Navy crew who take our ships to sea,
You've fought and died and never cried throughout our history.
You're heroes all and ten feet tall and your spirits never lag,
You're the nations best and you never rest in defense of our country's
flag!" He rose to leave and I do 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.

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