It’s steady, shrieking, eerie tones,
Which chills one to the very bones,
Quickly fills the ship to spread
A message of an unknown dread.
It’s strangely brutal pounding rouses
Men from weary, drunken poses,
Forces them from bunks to leap
These tired souls so drugged with sleep.
With bleary eyes and foggy brain,
Come running men in steady train.
No cynic born can yet aspire
To frame a truly tragic satire
On human faults and failing,
Amidst this banshee wailing;
Plunging through the darkened ways
These men no weaknesses display;
Like nimble, agile, floating ghosts
The men are at their posts;
Closing up thus instantly
They check their various weaponry
All senses sharp for danger
Which is to them no stranger.
Peering through the darkening gloom
Where a hundred thousand shadows loom
With roving eyes, alert and keen
The ugly face of death is seen.
These men stand fast to conquer fear,
Knowing it’s rather in than there.
With faces grim they are prepared
To strike at those that dared.
Springing up so fast from rest
It’s the Navy at it’s best.
Note: This poem was written in September of 1972 as a Midshipman on board the training cruiser PNS BABUR, where dawn and dusk ‘Action Stations’ were a regular ritual at sea. This was published in the March 2012 issue of the ‘Navy News’.