Embarking from Libau

Diana Senechal

The festive billows roll.
Random the rotten ships set sail,
young drunkards lean against the rail,
unschooled, unshaven, fresh from jail
and innocent of trial.
I'lll stay with them awhile,
for I'm the man who nails the nail,
and mends the hull, and braves the gale.
I'll mend their fates from head to tail,
though I can't mend the soul.
Libau wishes us well,
as Russia smirks beneath her veil
and promises to feed us ale
when we return from hell.
The laughing chapel bell
drowns out the wives, whose widowed wail
makes even stalwart captains flail
and tears apart the lull.
We'll drown the Japanese! All hail!
We'll mount each bloody skull
upon the mast of guile!
But marriage comes to null,
and Russia blushes under veil
as we set forth without a trail.
A blind commander turns the wheel,
and God on board becomes a fool,
screaming that we will fail,
that Tsushima will be our foil,
that madmen and baboons will fill
our fleet, and live to hear our knell,
that we will dine on our own bile
and sell our lives for coal.