Thoughts On A Ship (by Martin Busch on board USS Neshoba, date unknown)

Her manner is slow but definite.
Distrubed, she rolls and yaws against the
Eternal sea.
A mass of steel.
Born of man's idea in the
Long ago to conquer the
Silent deep.
---A ship.

Within her beats the
Pulse of man, - his work, his
Vigilance and play run through
Her veins each moment of time from
Bow to stern.
Her life-blood.
An animation of character with
Vital termperment.
---A living thing.

And yet the throbbing dullness of
Her life, the maddening loneliness,
The prayers that come across the
Star-lit sky
Are bound by iron railings.
Confinement of the flesh and bone, escape alone for
Thought and soul.
---A prison.

From screaming gale, from
Slashing sea, from midday sun and
Darkened night she lifts her wings for
Anxious brood.
A keeper of the lot.
Protecting always against the perils of
The deep.
---A faithful guardian.

Across the vast and
Restless waters she's shown us
Lands of strange and
Gruesome beauty.
Pictures forever painted in the recesses of
The mind.
The world in panorama.
Then leaving each exotic sunset
Behind her, she follows the
Anxious thought of men
To home.
Brings them at last to
Windswept shores where mid the
Pounding surf beats the heart of
Her who watched and waited through dark and
Endless hours.
The ship is in.
A foster-mother, a rival
Returning to give up her
Stolen brood.
------mp Busch
(My first attempt at free verse)