||It's A Ship
The navy boys are pleased;
they are friendly as can be
No matter where you meet them,
they are jolly company.
Their eyes are quick to twinkle
and their faces quick to grin.
They are fond of mirth and music
and they all have yarns to spin.
But their peacefulness will vanish
and they'll want to slit your throat.
If you haven't learned their language
and you call their ship a "boat."
You may not know aft from forward,
or the starboard from the port.
Or that discipline is rigid
when the vessel's known as "taut."
You may say "downstairs," landlubber,
when you ought to say "below."
And a sailor may forgive you
and no sign of temper show,
But a flash of indignation
on his face you'll promptly note.
If you make this foolish blunder
and you call his ship a "boat."
Now a boat is something simple
which by oars can be propelled.
It's a craft for lakes and rivers
and by foe it's never shelled.
It is swung on ships in davits,
and at times at storms at sea.
Should the nobler vessel flounder,
very useful it can be,
But from cabin boy to skipper
you'll get every sailor's goat.
And he'll never quite forgive you
if you call his ship a "boat."
Edgar A. Guest