The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

The Naval Reserves

They have left the spring-green campus, they have left the city streets,

For the prisoned sea is calling, in their young, red blood she beats;

They have gone from desk and office -- clerk and poet, drone and seer --

And from the field and town they answer, "Take us, mother -- we are here!"

And they're out upon the wide blue stretch, beneath a shining sun,

And they're out in storm and tempest, where there's brave work to be done;

With the straining deck beneath their feet, the salt air blowing free,

They have left their world behind them, for the sake of you and me!

And when the winter hems us in they shall not feel the bite

Of snow and hail and bitter winds which lash them day and night,

For in their hearts there is a flame, which burns for you and me,

A flame to light the future -- and the freedom of the sea!