We Live in their Place


Written at the Gulf of Tonkin
January 2004
on the eve of laying wreaths
for shipmates lost there


But for a roll of dice cast from the hand of God,
And it would be you or I, shipmate,
Who lies still . . . and as cold as the ocean we once sailed.
We live in their place and they lie dead in ours.


Every success and even each disappointment,
Every joy and even each moment of sorrow,
Is a precious gift . . . from our shipmates who died so far from home.
We live in their place and they lie dead in ours.


Our duty to them is to live each moment fully,
To laugh, to cry, . . . to swear like the sailors we once were,
And to remember them with grateful hearts.
We live in their place and they lie dead in ours.


Copyright 2004 Carl W. Cole