A Lesson in Trust

While on watch one wintry night,
My keenly roving eyes espied
A faint and faraway light
Fine on starboard side.

‘A boat engaged in fishing’,
The Captain said to me,
‘Looks like her bearing
Is more or less steady’.

‘Now my lad whom would you say
Has the right of way?’
Towards the distant flickering ray,
I pointed where my answer lay.

At his questioning look,
I quoted the ROR book,
But still he shook his head
And very gravely said,

‘We still are what we were,
Might still is right my boy,
This ship’s thick and steely bows
Can crush her like a toy.

‘When those poor souls are doomed
By trusting human rules,
Realize, my lad, in fiendish minds
Trusting souls are petty tools.

‘Rules are only made
For them to be broken,
Need strips bare all pretences
And leaves death as a token.

‘Live life, my boy, the proper way,
Think not alone of gains,
Just don’t forget that treachery
Flows in other veins’.

Note: This poem was written in Oct 1975 while serving as a watch-keeper on board a naval auxiliary PNS DACCA. It is based on a hypothetical scenario and the realism of the setting was only used to drive home a particular lesson which most of us can do well to remember.

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