Barnacled hulls passing that clouded night

Illuminated only in the passing fire of broadsides;

The incoherenced barks of men;

The wet solidarity of our drowned.

 

In the yards, coarse stevedores remake us

Board by board, wounded and weathered alike replaced:

The captain as well as the cooper,

The surgeon as well as the cook.

 

If we mates spied each other again today

It would be as fellow admirers of admirals’ monuments;

As port-bound whalers rowing to a gam;

As a squadron in the commodore’s harbor parade.

 

Joseph Byron Bennett

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