Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial for the Mariner

I realize, I've said so much about soldiers this memorial day, but nothing about sailors.

"Lord take me up in your hand and protect me,
for my boat is so small, and your ocean is so large"
I'm a sailor myself actually. I grew up on the New England coast, and spent most of my life within shouting distance of water until the great migration out west. I used to run hobie cats in spec races; I built a one-design with some friends. All small stuff really, but I've been well out of sight of land in a small boat. It's hard to understand the feeling or describe it unless you've been there.

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Psalms, 107:23-30
Let me say right now, the mercheant marine fleet deserves jsut as much a memorial this day as any man who ever wore his nations uniform. All throughout history it was the merchies who took the heaviest casualties, and they never recieved the recognition or honor that is due them. Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in New England which has borne that burden more heavily than most other places in America, but I think it's shameful that more don't know of the sacrifices they made for our freedom.

Sea Fever
--John Masefield

I MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
Some men must go, they must explore, they must sail, they must be free.. call it corny or sentimentalist or childish if you like... it isn't really, you just don't understand, and if you don't it can't be explained.

Home Is the Sailor
--A.E. Housman

Home is the sailor, home from sea:
Her far-borne canvas furled
The ship pours shining on the quay
The plunder of the world.

Home is the hunter from the hill:
Fast in the boundless snare
All flesh lies taken at his will
And every fowl of air.

'Tis evening on the moorland free,
The starlit wave is still:
Home is the sailor from the sea,
The hunter from the hill.
And they all come home again once more, unless they have given that final sacrifice.
We commit the body of our brother to the deep
In the sure and certain hope
that the day shall come that the sea shall give up her dead

And the corruptible bodies of those who sleep within shall be changed
And will be raised to the glory of new life