A tiny raft adrift on a sea, heaving on an endless ocean,
heaves up to a sea pitches down to a sea, in a world of constant motion.
Two men sprawled on bare wet boards, in abandonded postures lie,
ceaselessly washed by sea and scoured by wind, faces upturned to a sky.
Outflung limbs speaking sad despair, as to the seas their bodies sway,
unseeing eyes unhearing ears, oblivious to both night or day.
Dehydration and exhaustion, food and water long since gone,
faces cracked and peeled, flesh horribly raw, from exposure to salt and sun.
Stirring briefly back to reality one man croaks “How long now, how many days Tom” ?
he gets no reply and he cannot know that his shipmate Tom is `gone`.
Drifting back to semi conciousness, the words go round in his head,
“How many days since the ship was lost, how many shipmates dead” ?
He sees in his mind the torpedoe running, he awaits the fateful blow.
The explosion comes,then he hears the screams of men trapped there below.
Fire comes quick and there`s just no chance of swinging out the boats,
it`s `over the wall` and take your chance on anything that floats.
He watches her go, the sea taking her fast, his ship he`ll see no more.
She`s bound far down to become a broken wreck upon the ocean floor.
The sea heaves, the raft heaves, he stirs again, gives a little moan.
In his mind he`s wandering, now thinks he`s back at home.
He sees a field so green and fresh and hears the birds a singing,
he catches the scent of new mown grass, and hears the church bells ringing.
He sees a young and pretty wife, wild flowers in her hair,
and a little girl runs through the grass, laughing without care.
He listens now to the happy talk of a wife who loves him proud,
but hold on now, “What`s that other noise that`s coming on so loud” ?
Oh he knows alright just what it is and that it`ll never go away,
It`s the noise and pain and memory of a certain terrible day.
He hears the rumble and groan of tortured steel, the buckling of plate and beam.
He sees billowing smoke, hears crackling flame, and the roar of escaping steam.
He hears the awful rushing of a greedy sea and the screams of dying men.
He tells himself that once he`s home he`ll not go to sea again.
Coming suddenly back to reality though his mind still in a daze,
he recognises the way of things, he sees it through the haze.
He now accepts that he`s `all but done`, and he sees the truth quite plain,
he now knows that his end is near and he`ll never see home again.
Goodbye to a wife and a little girl, may God them safely keep.
He loved them so, but he`s drifting now towards an endless sleep.
Came fourth...now what?
I am sure that there were indeed many such tales that were never told.
---------- Post added at 08:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:03 PM ----------
[On the lighter side I recall the Monty Python sketch. This had the downed crew of an RAF bomber adrift in their rubber raft.."H..h..how long is it?...That's a rather personal question!"]
Thank you,Trampshipman that was sad & riverting at the same time
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