Charcoal and Watercolour, from Sketchbook, 2015

Our ships at sea are steaming through.

The wolves the hunting in the deep blue.

The frozen bosuns whistle pipes to thee.

Muster aft, all hands below, time for tea.

For fighting must not interfere with tea.

We once stood Fifteen ships in squadron.

Two destroyers, 

Three corvettes,

a frigate and a tug.

The rest, cargo vessels like our own making headway with a chug.

The destroyers now gone,

The last corvette is in now in tow.

Our sister ship a grave beneath the sea.

But still we press on, bosuns call, time for tea.

For fighting must not interfere with tea.

At night a storm, waves crashing with spray.

The cold night air leaving nothing but grey.

The Uboats hide in their great below.

We are safe from them while the storms rage and bellow.

Comfort is sought from the cold and the sea.

By thinking of two more nights until free.

Over howling gale, all hands below,

For fighting must not interfere with tea.

Home port we reach, just two cargo steamers.

The convoy broken, the tug blown on beam.

We hurry ashore to dry land like a dream.

Passing soldiers in port with bayonets,

All ready for shipping.

Packed in their kit a mess tin for brewing.

The survivors that night will find time for tea.

For fighting must not interfere with tea.

Tony Malone 2015