Good Men Who Eat Their Cubic Mile of Cold image

Good Men Who Eat Their Cubic Mile of Cold

Good men, who eat their cubic mile of cold,
their biscuits of loneliness without complaint,
bad boys, who never finished school
but welcome the war zone for the extra pay.

For the various ocean on which they work
they show no feeling only the respect
lumberjacks would show a leaning tree.
Waterspouts, whales pass distantly.

The “youngsters," down in the hold with dreams,
don't hear the pumps reciprocate with steam.
The old men, repair their only art,
no longer follow arrivals and departures of the heart.

Each makes a pact with steel,
comforted in the mesh of part and part.
They never age: machinery maintained,
they seem by that to be sustained.

Before agreeing to a Sailor's Home,
they would put to sea once more
and, far out, lay the fires
and give the ship into the hands of drift.

John Barr

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