To understand the following poem, you will have to know that a sailor never loses his love for the ships he has served on or the seas he has sailed. You will also have to imagine an old sailor, too old for the sea, sitting at a bar talking to the only person who will listen to his sea stories.
I used to be a sailor sir-have I told you that before
A very damn good sailor- don’t spill that as you pour
I was a fine Machinest Mate, I knew my engines sir
I knew my rate and stayed below to make the engines purr
I stood my watch with pride I say and grew into a man
Living life a fireman’s way aboard an old Tin-can
I knew her bilge and overhead, her every mood and sound
Her screws lulled me in my bed with rhymes of swish and pound
I cursed her like a sailor, but loved her like a wife
And I could never fail her, as long as I have life
We Tin-can sailors never lose that one desire to be
On rolling decks in navy blue, and anywhere at sea
My ship is gone as all must go and I will go someday
Where memories and ships don’t rust to get her underway