He Knew The Sea

Buzz Bray

He knew the sea

Saw its smiles and warmth

Its rage and fury.

Rode the storm-tossed ship

With no land in sight

Only the limitless heaving breast

Of the sea!

And he basked in the South Pacific sun

As USS phoenix gently heaved with the

Breath of the sea.

He saw the paradise of the

Gentle Pacific

Turn into untethered hell.

He saw acts of heroism

So many unsung, unremembered.

He and so many other heroes

Made their ship a home and refuge.

He came home to stay on land

Never returning to the sea.

But in his work, his play

His smile and even his tears

The sea shined through.

His memories of riding the high seas

The happiness, the sheer exhilaration

Of kinship with the ocean.

Of being a son of the sea.

It always stayed.

Even in his humility

It was clear

He had faced the sea

Dared it

Confronted it

Loved it

And delighted riding the

Unbridled waves.

He earned his rest

Sharing his story with the next generations.

How much larger he seemed despite

His quiet humble assay of his part.

And when taps finally sounded for him

It was so clear that the small urn

Could not contain him.

His spirit glides now

Out over the waves

His bravery now entrusted

To the ages.

To be remembered.

The country he helped save has erected

Great monuments.

I remember him…

For courage

For duty

For he knew the sea

Its smiles and anger

He faced death and rage

And transcended it all

Leaving a legacy…

Of happiness and the exhilaration of

Being a son of the sea.

  • Author: Buzz Bray (Offline Offline)
  • Published: January 5th, 2022 12:30
  • Comment from author about the poem: Dedicated to my father and all the crew of the U.S.S. Phoenix (CL-46) who served six years in the South Pacific, seeing action in virtually every major engagement, from Pearl Harbor to the end of WWII. R.I.P. May their memory always be a blessing!
  • Category: Family
  • Views: 34
  • User favorite of this poem: AuburnScribbler.


  • AuburnScribbler

    A formidable tribute here Buzz, with an expert flow, like that of an epic story.

    I'm sure your father and his crew-mates would be proud of such a homage.

    I too do love the sea, and when travel restrictions are truly back to normal, I shall bathe in it, with a thankful heart.

    Bravo, and I hope that all is well!

    • Buzz Bray

      Thank you for your kind words. Every September 7th, Dad would come into my middle school class and speak to my students first-hand about his experiences at Pearl. Their reactions gratified him so much. As young as they were, some would come and hug him. Others thanked him. I was so proud of my students and grateful that they recognized the contribution of so many members of the 'greatest generation.'

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