Old sailors sit and chew the fat about things that used to be,
Of the things they've seen ' the places they've been, when they ventured out to sea.
They remembered friends from long ago, the times they had back then,
The money they spent, the beer they drank, in their days as sailing men.
Their lives are lived in the days gone by with the thoughts that forever last.
Of the bell bottom blues, round white hats, and good times in their past.
They recall long nights with the moon so bright far out into the lonely sea,
The thoughts they had as youthful lads, when their lives were wild and free.
They know so well how their hearts would swell when the flag fluttered proud and free.
The underway pennant such a beautiful sight as they plowed through an angry sea.
They talked of the chow ol' cookie would make and the shrill of the Bosn’s Pipe.
How salt spray would fall like sparks from hell when a storm struck in the night.
They remember old shipmates already gone who forever hold a spot in their heart,
When sailors were bold, and friendships would hold, until death ripped them apart.
They speak of nights spent in bawdy houses on many a foreign shore,
Of the beer they'd down as gathering around, telling jokes with a busty whore.
Their sailing days are gone away; never again will they cross the brow.
They have no regrets; they know they are blessed, for honouring the sacred vow.
Their numbers grow less with each passing day as the final muster begins,
There's nothing to lose, all have paid their dues, and they'll sail with shipmates again.
I've heard them say before getting underway that there's still some sailing to do,
They'll say with a grin that their ship has come in and the Good Lord is commanding the crew.
The soldier stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets;
You've done your time in Hell.'
Oh! I have slipped the surley bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never Lark, or even Eagle flew -
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.