The Line

 

 

I saw a line of sailors

They seemed so far away.

Their uniforms were brilliant white

Despite the cloudy day.

 

I couldn’t see their faces

Their rates, left arm and right,

But on and on the column grew

It really was a sight.

 

And then I saw another group

Quite different from the first.

Their beards and shaggy haircuts

Their uniforms the worst.

 

Playing Acey Ducey

And smoking cigarettes

And endless games of poker

Drinking coffee, making bets.

 

I asked a nearby sailor,

Who are those wretched lads?

“Oh, them, they’re submariners,

They’re altogether bad.”

 

They hid beneath the surface

On submarines of old.

Their missions were so secret,

They never could be told.

 

And every one a scoundrel

With language foul and blue.

“They just weren’t proper sailors

Believe me it’s all true.”

 

Then suddenly a rush of wind

Blew all the clouds away.

The angels came and passed the line

The gamblers stopped their play.

 

The other sailors grumbled

“We’ve been standing in this line

For what seem an eternity?

And faithful all this time.”

 

The angel said, “Just wait a bit

Your time will come soon well.

But these boys get to go home now,

They’ve done their time in hell.”

 

“Their boat went down so quickly,

There wasn’t time to pray.

But God heard every mother,

Who lost her son that day.”

 

The submariners rose as one

And walked into the light

They all went down together,

As one, they all took flight.

 

So pray for submariners

When you think of those we’ve lost

The freedom we enjoy today

Came with a heavy cost.

 

Robert W. MacPherson

 

CWO USN (Ret.)      © May 2018

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