Poetry by Jeff Green



by cricketjeff on September 27, 2008.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved

She is alone
once she had nearly three hundred sisters
working their tickets around the world

From Archangel to the Antilles
Savannah to Suez they were familiar sights
small and friendly
flying flags of the free world
feeding the fight

The bravest of brave men
rode these workhorses
protecting the shipping
that saved the world

Slow noisy and uncomfortable
but tough and seaworthy
patrolling and cajoling
keeping the stragglers in line
facing the wolf-packs
and the lone raiders

fighting e-boats and u-boats
and even pocket battleships
these flowers of the sea
did not last long

and now there is just one
staunchly Canadian
a proud veteran
of desperate times

No longer a bastion
of freedom in a time of tyranny
HMCS Sackville now escorts
the last remains of Atlantic veterans
not eager young soldiers
or shiploads of sugar

The last corvette
still serves

Author notes

297 Flower class corvettes were built in the UK and Canada to escort convoys at the start of WWII. They accounted for dozens of submarines and a few aircraft and captured the first Naval enigma machine (even if not in the films!!!)

The Canadian ships were called after Canadian towns rather than flowers.
I have been captivated by their story since reading The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Montsarrat (sp?)

Prompt was “an old corvette”