Poetry

Sacrifice of a Captain

~ BY BABY KATTACKAL

Kerala, India

THE WINDOWS  OF THE SHIP WERE ALL AJAR,

LETTING THE SWEEPING WINDS OF THE ARABIAN SEA IN,

TO DRIVE AWAY THE PERVASIVE STINK,

 TRAPPED IN, OF THE GUNPOWDER.

 

FOR, THE SHIP WAS MOVING DETONATING,

SALVOS  OF GUNFIRE AT THE ENEMY,

THE VESSEL WAS ROLLING,

LURCHING, SWAYING,

 

IN THE WAR TORN, TURBULENT SEA,

STIRRED BY FALLING BOMBS,

AS IF DANCING ITS WAY TO THE ODDS OF DEATH,

LURKING IN ITS WAY, UNMINDFUL.

 

TORPEDOS AND MISSILES  WERE IN USE,

CAUSING EVERYWHERE  EXPLOSIONS,

BUT THE VESSEL WAS ON THE MOVE,

ROCKING AND ROLLING ITS WAY FORWARD.

 

THE CAPTAIN, SAGACIOUS AND ALERT,

GIVING, ORDERS TO HIS MEN,

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD

AND CLUES, HOW TO BE STRATEGIC AND SAFE.

 

THE RADARS AND OTHER GADGETS,

ACTIVE TO SPOT THE ENEMY IN TIME,

TO STOP THEIR ADVANCE IN HIDING IN TIME,

AND TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY’S STRATEGY.

 

WITH THE FULL-BLOWN SUPER STRATEGY,

FOR IT IS NOT THE WEAPONRY THAT COUNTS,

BUT THE STRATEGY AND STRATEGY ALONE,

THAT MAKES  A WAR, A BATTLE OF WITS.

 

A BATTLE OF UTMOST WISDOM,

THE CAPTAIN LONG EXPERIENCED,

 IN THE WAR TECHNIQUES,

HAD WAGED MANY A WAR,

 

IN THE PAST WITH WISDOM,

COUPLED WITH EXPERIENCE,

AND THE INTRICATE STRATEGY,

OF A WAR OF WITS.

 

THE SHIP WAS IN GOOD CONDITION

AFTER A RECENT DRY- DOCKING

AND WAS SEAWORTHY

IN ALL RESPECTS.

 

THEN WHAT MORE WAS NEEDED

TO WIN A WAR OF STRATEGY

ASSISTED BY THE  MODERN EQUIPMENT

A CONGENIAL AMBIENCE FOR A VICTORY

 

THE SITUATION  CAST NO ASPERSION

CAST NO APPREHENSION

BUT CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE ALONE

OF THE HIGHEST ORDER, AMONG THE SAILORS.

 

SO MOVED THE SHIP   READY TO DESTROY  

ANYTHING THAT STOOD IN ITS WAY

WITH UTMOST FEROCITY

AND  CALLOUS DISDAIN.

 

NO REASON FOR ANY DOUBT

NO REASON  FOR EVEN  AN IOTA OF ANY INKLING

OF THE CHANCES OF  SOMETHING HIDDEN

MAYBE A FATAL PITFALL IN THE SHIP’S WAY

 

THE SHIP WAS MOVING CAREFULLY, FORWARD

UNAWARES, UNSUSPECTING

THE MEN COURAGEOUS, FEROCIOUS, ITCHING

                                                                      TO DESTROY ANYTHING PERTAINING TO THE ENEMY.

BUT……………….

 

IT HAPPENED ALL OF A SUDDEN, A BOLT

IN THE LAP OF NORMALLY CALM ARABIAN SEA,

AN UNEXPECTED THUD LIKE EXPLOSION

A PERILOUS  DETONATION.

 

IT WAS A TORPEDO HURTLED

 FROM A HIDING SUBMARINE OF THE ENEMY

HIT AT THE HULL OF THE SHIP AFLOAT

CAUSING IT TO DROWN WITH ALL

 

CONFIDENT WERE ITS WELL TRAINED MEN.

IN THE PLACE OF PANIC

COURAGE WRIT LARGE ON THE SCENE

COURAGE, AMONG THE CREW.

 

THE HIT CAUSED

THE SHIP MOVING FORWARD

TO MOVE DOWNWARD

SLUGGISHLY

 

COURAGEOUS THE SAILORS  WERE

TRAINED NOT TO PANIC, THE ONLY TECHNIQUE,

TO ESCAPE FROM THE FACE OF AN IMMINENT DANGER.

YES, AVOID   PANIC, IS THEIR WATCH WORD OF ESCAPE.

 

EVERYTHING WAS IN ITS MILITARY ORDER

AND DISCIPLINE.

THE ORDER OF USUAL  PROTOCOL

CHANGED INTO THE REVERSE.

 

THE SAFETY BOATS WERE LOWERED

AND THE MEN BOTTOM FIRST TO TOP

WERE TO BOARD THE BOATS

 AS IS THE WON’T IN TIMES OF A SHIPWRECK.

 

 IT WAS THE ORDER OF ESCAPE

FROM  BOTTOM TO TOP

AND  NOT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

IN  EMERGENCIES, THE MILITARY WAY

 

THE CIVILIAN WAY

OF MIGHT IS RIGHT ORDER

IN SUCH SITUATION WILL NOT WORK

FOR IT AGGRAVATES THE DEATH TOLL

 

THE MILITARY  REVERSE PROTOCOL STIPULATES

THE CAPTAIN  TO LEAVE THE SHIP LAST,

AFTER ENSURING THE ESCAPE OF THE REST

IN SUCH EMERGENCIES.

 

WHEN ALL ESCAPED, THE SHIP WAS ALMOST SUNK

AND THE CAPTAIN, CALM, STAYED BACK

EVEN AT THE FACE OF DEATH,

TO ENSURE EVERYONE’S ESCAPE.

 

BY THAT TIME THE CAPTAINS ESCAPE

TURNED AN IMPOSSIBLE AFFAIR,

AS THE RESCUE BOATS COULDN’T BE BACK

BEFORE THE SHIP SANK FULLY, SURE

 

KNOWING HIS DEATH WAS IMMINENT

THE CAPTAIN WAS  WAVING AT HIS MEN

AS  HE SANK TO THE ABYSMAL DEPTHS AND COURTED DEATH

A  VALIANT SACRIFICE FOR HIS MOTHER COUNTRY

 

AND THE PEOPLE OF HIS COUNTRY

AND FOR ALL HIS MEN

THAT MADE HIM LIVE LONG

IN THE MINDS OF ALL

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