Morbid Dick

"Hide behind the troops."
"Wave the bloody shirt."
Lay them down in groups,
Dead beneath the dirt.

Out upon the sea,
Vast uncaring waves.
Officers and me:
Prisoner of slaves.

Going where we're sent.
Doing what we're told.
Never to repent.
Nothing quite so bold.

Sailors spending cash
That they haven't got.
Paid by rum and lash,
Three meals and a cot.

Someone getting rich.
Ain't those swabbing decks.
Nothing but to bitch,
Chipping paint in flecks.

If it moves, salute;
If it doesn't, paint.
Nothing too astute.
No life for the faint.

Vows of Poverty;
Then, Obedience;
And Unchastity.
Just subservience.

One-word lexicon,
Filthy and profane.
Sunrise until dawn,
Useful. Terse. Germane.

Channel Fever now,
Ashes in their urns,
Homeward speeds the scow.
Morbid Dick returns.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2018