Anthony W. Pahl


Undo the ship’s moorings; it’s time to move out.
All hands on deck. Look to the north and the south.
You’ve farewelled your loved ones, lovers and kin
Now to the sea, to the sea, let the voyage begin!

Over oceans of water, following winds blowing free
Swabbing the decks in time to the songs of the sea
The big guns are ready, magazines all primed
The sea’s sliding past and it’s almost the time…

to confront those dark demons – uncertainty and fear;
Your destiny is this way; your home is back there.
Write all your words in the still silence of dawn
to your parents, your lover or your child unborn.

You are the sailors who sail the ships of the free;
The men and the women who ensure freedom can be.
You’re the warriors who, when death says it’s time,
Are enshrouded in white spume in a watery shrine.

But you do not go quietly to that watery grave;
You fight the good fight only fought by the brave.
And when your job’s done and there’s no need to roam
The compass holds steady when the course is for home.

Author’s Note: Inspired by the words created by Danielle N. Calhoun in her poem, “Armed and Ready” and with thanks for her permission to use, with slight changes, her idea and, in particular, the first two lines of her poem.