The Nuke's Lament
Now each of us from time to time has gazed upon the sea,
And watched the warships pulling out to keep our country free.
And most of us have watched a film or heard a lusty tale,
About the men who sail these ships through lightning, wind and hail.
But there's a place within the ship that legends fail to teach,
Within the shell, deep down in Hell, where legend cannot reach.
It's down below the waterline, and takes a living toll-
That wet hot metal living hell, which sailors call the "Hole".
It houses engines run by steam that make the shafts go 'round,
A place of harshest light and heat that beats your body down.
Where reactors, like a hellish heart, with blood of angry steam,
Are metal gods without remorse, that run a tight regime.
The men who tend the nuclear fire and make the engines run,
Are strangers to the open sky, and rarely see the sun.
With procedure worn and logpage torn they practice every day,
The actions that they must take to keep calamity away.
They have no time for play or fun, their discipline is key,
No matter where at sea or port the hole is where they'll be.
For there's not much that men can do that these men haven't done,
Beneath the decks, down in their hole, to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day they stand their watch in hell,
For if their reactor must be scrammed their ship's a useless shell.
When ships converge to have a war upon an angry sea,
The men just grimly smile at what their fate will be.
They're locked below like men foredoomed, who hear no battle-cry,
It's well assumed that if they're hit the men below will die.
But every day's a war down there, when gages all read red,
Twelve hundred Rem of silent rays will kill you mighty dead.
So if you ever read their words or ask to hear their tale,
You'll hear that epic deeds were done amidst florescent pale.
And people, as a general rule, don't trust atomic steel,
So little's heard about that place, just inches from the keel.
But I can sing about the Hole, and try to make you see,
The hardened life of men down there, for one of them is me.
I've seen these sweat-soaked heroes fight in superheated air,
To keep their ship alive and right, though no-one knows they're there.
And thus they'll fight for ages on til warships sail no more,
Amid the reactor's mighty heat and turbine's hellish roar.
So when you see a ship pull out to meet a war-like foe,
remember fairly, if you can, "The Men Who Sail Below."