Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

WWII Submarines in Verse

I've linked Sid Harrison's submarine page before, but it's always worth going back. Today, I was struck again by the beautiful simplicity of the words of Bob Harrison's poem, "Toll the Bell". An excerpt:

"Toll the bell, you submariners, for your brethren of the deep
Who went to sea so long ago and still their constant vigil keep.
Tell the nation who they are and where they lie beneath the sea,
Keep the faith with those brave comrades who patrol eternally...
"...Toll the bell for Shark and Grunion, gallant warriors of the sea,
Toll the bell for brave Pompano, Grenadier, and Tullibee.
Sing your praises for the Thresher, Grayling and the Amberjack,
And for all the men who perished, mothers’ sons who won’t come back..."

For some reason, this reminded me of a WWII submarine poem that the men of USS Trigger used to recite:

By Constantine Guiness, MOMM 1/C, USN

I'm the galloping ghost of the Japanese coast
You don't hear of me and my crew.
But just ask any man off the coast of Japan
If he knows of the Trigger Maru.

I look sleek and slender alongside my tender
With others like me at my side,
But we'll tell you a story of battle and glory,
As enemy waters we ride.

I've been stuck on a rock, felt the depth charge's shock,
Been north to a place called Attu,
and I've sunk me two freighters atop the equator
Hot work, but the sea was cold blue.

I've cruised close inshore and carried the war
to the Empire Island Honshu,
While they wire Yokahama I could see Fujiyama,
So I stayed, to admire the view.

When we rigged to run silently, deeply I dived,
And within me the heat was terrific.
My men pouring sweat, silent and yet
Cursed me and the whole damned Pacific.

Then destroyers came sounding and depth charges pounding
My submarine crew took the test.
Far in that far off land there are no friends on hand,
To answer a call of distress.

I was blasted and shaken (some damage I've taken),
my hull bleeds and pipe lines do, too
I've come in from out there for machinery repair,
And a rest for me and my crew.

I got by on cool nerve and in silence I served,
Though I took some hard knocks in return,
One propeller shaft sprung and my battery's done,
But the enemy ships I saw burn.

I'm the galloping ghost of the Japanese coast,
You don't hear of me and my crew.
But just ask any man off the coast of Japan,
If he knows of the Trigger Maru.

USS Trigger was lost with all hands during her twelfth patrol, on March 26, 1945. Toll the bell...

[Edited to correct the name of the owner of the website mentioned in the link at the top.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poem illustrates the spirit of the generation who fought WWII. We should remain conscious of the sacrifices necessary to keep America free.

1/03/2006 6:33 AM


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