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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baptizing

Come to us,
And come to,
Him.
We cannot,
Really ask.
The lord,
Must move,
Your heart.
We can Perhaps,
Suggest,
But in the end,
The choice is not,
Even yours,
It is,
Given to you,
By Him.

When the time,
Comes,
There can be,
But one place,
Yet it can be,
Any place.
A river of your,
Choosing.
Or of our choosing,
But a river,
Only.
Let it be a place,
Special to you,
If you have,
Such a place.

Let it be,
A place of,
Remembrance
For this day of,
Remembrance
For this day,
That could only come,
When He,
Beckoned you,
Finally,
Into communion,
With the Saints.


For,
Can we doubt,
That man,
Is dead,
'Til called,
By God?
And once called,
We truly enter,
New life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Karachi To Seychelles

It's a trip worth making,
The promise of a
Rare resort,
An island paradise
In the midst of nowhere,
Or darned near
A decent port visit,
Finally.

You get to go alone,
Pray for good weather,
Eleven hundred miles
In a tin can.
Karachi to Seychelles,
We have enough fuel,
But not too much.

We get lucky,
The sea is like glass,
We see no other ship for days,
But we do have a surprise guest,
We are in company with
An owl.

Is he bad luck?
Sailors are superstitious,
But we like the company
On the empty sea.
He circles us all day.
Clockwise, always clockwise.
Riding air currents,
At yardarm level,
Never higher,
Appearing to forever be eying us,
Airborne whenever I come on deck,
Those wings never move.
Does he never rest?
Presumably at dusk.
He's on deck at dawn,
Back on station.

An obstacle stands in our way,
We must cross the line,
We've only thirty some shell backs,
And they have
One hundred and eighty plus
Pollywogs to process.

Does some fool really try
To see how the toilets
Flush,
When we are on
The equator?
We use flushometers,
You fool.
They always flush
Violently.
Besides,
King Neptune summons you.

We pass a single ship along the way,
One tramp steamer,
The entire trip,
En route home port,
Delhi,
A rust bucket.
This passes for excitement?

Finally, Mahe in sight,
The home island,
Deep water,
Easy anchorage.
We arrive with
Nineteen per cent fuel.
We are grateful for
Perfect weather.
Without it we'd be
Suckin' fumes.

What are those?
Soviet fishing boats?
What are they doing there?
Who cares?
go ashore,
To the beach,
To the hotel,
Buffets,
All kinds of
Fish,
Clams,
Shark,
Satellite calls home,
The Seychelloise are
So proud of their
Ground station,
And we are so
Pleased to use it!

Let us not have to leave,
It's a long way back to the Gulf,
And the reward is so
Very minimal.

Exercise for the student:
Compare and contrast,
Seychelles and Bandar Abbas,
That garden spot,
Of Iran,
Tongue in cheek,
As required.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Fire Room

The fire is in the boiler but,
It's hot enough,
To make it feel,
As if it's
Right here,
Outside,
In the firing aisle,
On the lower level.

How hot?
The heat is pulling
The sweat
Right out of
Our bodies,
Right through
Our shirts,
Where it joins
The wet,
In the heavy air,
Seeping from those
Leaking glands,
Sick gaskets
That can't be repaired
'Til we go
Cold iron,
Next month,
Maybe.
Have another salt tablet.

The snuffie keeping me company
In the firing aisle,
Looks a bit sleepy,
He's only been on watch
Five hours,
There's no place to sit,
We stand and watch the fire,
Look for sputtering,
Loss of fires,
Bad stuff
You know.
A gong sounds,
Put in another
Burner barrel,
Pull it out of the slot,
Slide it in,
Cut in the
Air,
Cut in the
Fuel,
Done.
Hear the blowers wind up,
The lower level
Returns to normal.

The check man on
The upper level,
Looks across,
Through a pane of glass.
Not forty feet away,
There sits
The boiler tech
Of the watch.
When did we all
Become,
TECHs?
Water Tender was
Descriptive,
Boilermaker was,
Highly descriptive,
(Not the drink).
Soon a Boatswain will be a,
Deck Tech (!?),
(May we not live
That long).

The check man has
Nothing to do,
Unless something
Goes very wrong,
In which case,
He'd best move
Fast,
Very fast,
Lest water carry over
Where it's not welcome.

Once we blew tubes
Once a watch,
Black oil made it
Necessary,
Along with all sorts of
Other cares.
Now
Clean burning distillate
Makes for a life of
Ease.
If this is a life of
Ease,
Our brothers of the
Bygone era,
Must have labored
In Hell.
Have another salt tablet.

How things have changed,
The Boiler Tech of the watch,
Sits in an air conditioned booth.
A Boiler Tech who doesn't sweat?
No wonder they changed the name.
Now all the action is on
The lower level.
Where real men still dwell,
And sweat,
Come on down,
The temperature's
Just fine,
How fine?
We won't tell.
The rest of the show,
Is viewed,
But operated,
By control air,
Remotely,
Modern.

On the way off watch,
Let's take a
Hollywood shower,
On the lower level,
It's 130 degrees,
We might not,
Be able to tell,
When the water
Is on,
But we're hard guys,
Have another salt tablet.