The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Fleets

Are you out with the fleets through the long, dark night,

Admiral Drake?

Are you keeping watch, when with never a light

They patrol the seas and wait for a fight?

In that far South Sea were you standing by,

Admiral Drake?

Did your masthead catch that wireless cry?

Did you in sorrow watch them die?

Once more at the guns do your gunners strain,

Admiral Drake?

Do their voices ring o'er the decks again,

"Have at them, boys!" in the old refrain?

When the shining death leaps through the wave,

Admiral Drake,

Are your boats all out in a rush to save?

Do you stand to salute the death of the brave?

Are there others out on the heaving blue,

Admiral Drake?

Are Collingwood, Blake and Nelson, too,

In their high-decked ships, along with you?

Oh, seamen of old, the shadowy gates

Swing wide to let you through,

And out o'er the seas your galleons sweep

To fight for the flag anew.