Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Silent Navy - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Oh, it is not in the papers and we cannot always know
Where to find the Silent Service whose address is 'G.P.O.'
And to-day you can't be certain where to-morrow it will be
Which yesterday was 'somewhere' and the day before 'at sea.'

You will find the Silent Navy under every star that shines;
It may be hunting submarines, it may be sweeping mines;
From Cocos Isle to Dogger Bank, the Falklands to the Bight,
You will find the Silent Navy when it gets a chance to fight.

You'll find it in the wintry seas, making heavy weather,
When the wind and the waves are playing larks together;
You'll find it cruising up and down and coming in to coal,
Then out again in mist and rain to keep its long patrol.

You will find the Silent Navy where the ships come in from sea
With wheat and meat and fighting men and sugar for our tea,
You'll find it seizing contraband in narrow seas and wide,
You'll find it near, you'll find it far, and in between beside.

It may be on the Danube, or among the Belgian dunes;
Annexing South Sea Islands or blockading hot lagoons;
Escorting armies overseas or starting out in buff
To hand a Turkish railroad-line a friendly pinch of snuff.

It's here and there and everywhere, an unexpected guest,
That is not always welcome, be its manners of the best;
You'll meet it in the Baltic and again in Riga Bay,
Or landing with its guns in Equatorial Africa.

It is not in the papers, for the Censor deems it best;
But we sometimes hear a little, and we sometimes guess the rest,
And where there's any risk to run, or any death to dare,
You may seek the Silent Navy . . . and be sure you'll find it there!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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