If you’ve read my work for a while, you know that I’m a prose person. I’ll read poetry, but other than a lousy haiku, I don’t write it. A while ago, I ran into the poem I am presenting below. Sad to say, It epitomizes a lot of the hype of being a sailor. I want to assure my readers that I am scandalized by it, and this was not me when I was young…or older. None the less I am presenting it here as a sort of ethnographic curiosity, a counter to the more abstemious images of a sailor’s life.
A Sailors Prayer
Whether I wake in Thailand
or Norfolk or Guam,
or wake up in Subic with half my stuff gone.
Or wake up in a hot tub, butt-naked and drunk,
Lord, Let me find my way back to my bunk.
The author is one Bill Watts, who my suspicions lead me to think was either a deck ape or snipe. So I hurry to implore the readership that I never partook in such scandalous activities.
But I know how vital that bunk is. Even in a crowded berthing compartment, it can be as close to an owned private, secure space as a sailor can have.
I haven’t been able to find anything out about Bill Watts or this poem. If you know anything, please let me know. The man’s been there! I, of course, state this hypothetically.