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November 24, 2009

The Snipes' Lament

The Snipes Lament
Now each of us from time to time, have gazed upon the sea.
We watched the warships pulling out, to keep this country free.
Most of us have read a book, or heard a lusty tale,
about the men who sail these ships, through lightning, wind and hail.
But there’s a place within each ship, that legend fails to teach.

It’s down below the waterline, it takes a living toll...
A hot metal living hell, that sailors call the “hole.”
It houses engines run by steam, that makes the shafts go round.
A place of fire, noise and heat that beats your spirit down.
The engines are molded by gods without remorse, that are nightmares in a dream.
Whose boilers threat that from the fires roar and superheated steam.
Makes the "hole" like living hell, that at any minute, with tormented scorn, escape the pipes and crush you out.

Where turbines scream like tortured souls, alone in the ships bowels,thinking of being lost in hell.
As ordered from Bridge above, to the Snipes a duty to answer every bell.
The men who keep the fires lit, and make the engines run,
are strangers to the world of day light, and rarely see the sun.
They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear.
Their aspect pays no living thing, the tribute of a tear.

For there’s not much that men can do, that these men have not done.
Beneath the decks deep in the hole, to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day, they keep the watch in hell.
For if the fires ever fail, their ship’s becomes a useless shell.

When ships converge to make war upon the sea.
The men below just grimly smile, at what their fate might be.
They’re locked in below like men for doomed, who hear no battle cry.
It’s well assumed that if they’re hit, the men below will die.
For every day’s a war down there, when the gauges all read red,
Twelve hundred pounds of heated steam, can kill you mighty dead.

So if you ever write their sons, or try to tell their tale.
The very words would make you hear, a fired furnace’s wail.
And people as a general rule, don’t hear of men of steel.
So little’s heard about the place, that sailors call the “hole.”

But I can sing about this place, and try to make you see.
The hardened life of men down there, cause one of them is me.
I’ve seen these sweat soaked heroes fight, in superheated air,
To keep their ship alive and right through no one knows they’re there.

And thus they’ll fight for ages on, till warships sail no more.
Amid the boiler’s mighty heat, and the turbines hellish roar.
So when you see a ship pull out, to meet a warlike foe,
Remember faintly if you can, THE MEN WHO SAIL BELOW,
that call the HOLE their home.
—Author unknown shared by a commenter "Black Shoe Snipe."

Source: From the deep bowels of the USS Donald B Beary FF-1085 "Mission Sailors Always" offered by a commenter, "Black Shoe Snipe" on my blog entry Snipes A Poem and Tribute for April 10, 2006. Thank you, Black Shoe Snipe! Remember, 30 and NO smoke! Only economy haze!

Posted by niganit at November 24, 2009 7:04 AM
More like this: Poetry | Profound


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