Sailor's Life at Sea & A Little Poetry

The Rookie's Prayer
One Month Service

Sea Going Tony, Newport, Rhode Island, 1910

[Some items are hyperlinked to definitions.]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my gear to keep.
Grant no other sailor'll take socks or shoes
before I wake.

Lord please guard me in my slumber,
And keep this hammock on its number,
May no clews nor lashings break
And let me down before I wake.

Keep me safely in thy sight,
Grant no fire drills at night.
And in the morning let me wake
Breathing scents of sirloin steak.

God protect me in my dreams,
And make this better than it seems.
Grant the time may swiftly fly,
When myself shall rest on high.

In a snowy feather bed,
Where I long to lay my head,
Far away from all these scenes,
From the smell of half-baked beans.

Take me back unto the land,
Where they don't scrub down with sand
Where no demon typhoon blows;
Where women wash the clothes.

God thou knowest all my woes,
Feed me in my dying throes;
Take me back, I'll promise then,
Never to leave home again.


Vocabulary

rookie: used in this poem to mean a new recruit in the Navy.

on its number: upon boarding a new ship, each seaman was assigned a number for all of his belongings. Sailors then hung their hammocks on the appropriate numbered hook each day.

clews: lines by which a hammock is suspended.

lashings: something used for binding or fastening a hammock.