Song of a Retired Sea Captain
I love the roar of the wintry wind,
To feel it bluing my cheek,
To see the wash of the foaming waves,
To feel the sting of the sleet.
To hear the crack of the flapping sails
As they billow away from the mast.
To hear the cries of the white seagulls
As they rush downwind on the blast.
To fight for life with all my strength
When lightening flashes grand!
To feel the cold fingers of death on my face,
As we creep through the mist off Newfoundland.
Give me again that rolling waste,
A stout ship ‘neath my feet,
Give me the helm, I’ll steer her free,
Without a slackened sheet!
I know I’m useless here ashore -
An old man past his prime,
But put me on a ship again,
I’ll yet serve out my time!
If only I may end my days
Where wild winds never sleep,
And sink ‘neath the waves with my gallant ship,
To our unmarked grave in the restless deep.
[Editor’s note: The poem was included at the end of the transcription of the letter of October 27, 1944.]