The attack came too quickly, no time to react.
He didn’t expect it, but his ship was bushwacked.
“Abandon ship” was the cry and they plunged in the sea
Few made the small island, but now to God they do plea.
Now five nights past, under furrowed brow concerns shadow his face.
As moonless midnight passes, he stares into night’s space.
Only seven remain, while 200 have gone to their rest.
Death came on swift wings before they completed their quest.
That damned German sub had caught him off guard
With their prop-driven carnage striking mid-ships so hard.
Remnants of a once-proud crew that he felt he’d let down
Are now cast-away with small hopes of being found.
“What can I do,” he queries through darkened mood.
Tis far more than collecting firewood or scavenging food.
Both are so scarce, impossible to find
Despair chases his courage, clouding his mind.
“I am still the crew’s captain,” he thinks as he stares
I must keep them living with more than just prayers.
We may be endangered, but our hopes can’t be lost
I must keep them hopeful, no matter what the cost.
Then just before dawn, on the horizon he sees
The mast of a ship, but of what flag will it be?
Soon he knows it is his, a signal he does loft
And when he sees that they see him, tears fall fast but soft.
Should he feel joy for the seven that are saved
Or weep for 200 who went down to their graves?
It’s the contradiction of command with courage he faced.
The decisions are his, ones that can’t be replaced.