From Navy Day publication,
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard,
October 27, 1940
The Old Salt spat at a passing rat, and borrowed a match from me:
Then scratched a match where his pants were tight, and spake quite fervently;
“I’ll swear by gum, that it strikes me dumb – this kind of dang navee.
With not a sail, nor even a brail, and dog watches drinking tea.
‘Twas some years back that I took a crack at serving Uncle Sam;
An’ ‘taint the same – except maybe the name – as ‘twere in them days, by damn!
We went aloft if the Old Man coughed, or if it began to blow;
And got a root from a gov-ment boot if maybe we went too slow.
A trick at the wheel took an arm o’ steel, and lots of plain beef y’see.
But now it’s did by a high school kid, and patent ‘lectricitee.
We got our rum an’ slap o’ slum almost every day or so,
An’ mouldy bits of ship’s biskits if stores was running low.
Today I seed how these youngsters feed – the mess what they get each day,
An’ strike me pink, if I don’t think I’d bin in a swell cafay.
It used to be that a man at sea was a sailor. It makes me bile
To see the way they cruise today with radiums, gas an’ ile.
An’ not content to remain where meant – on toop – where a ship should sail,
They go and man a sheet-iron can an’ dive like a blasted whale.”
The Old Salt spat, donned his hat, give a hitch to those pants of his.
He’d said his say – so he creaked away, all itches and rheumatiz.
For sailor-man, since the flood began, and Noah put to sea,
He raised his plaint – “AH – THE NAVY AIN’T WHAT THE NAVY USED TO BE!”