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By Seaman Jack Ingle
USC&GS Ship LESTER JONES

There’s some who live for the stirrup cup
That ilk and all their ken
And others who strive to better the goal
To cut a trail for men

By sextant, meter, and deepsea lead
We’ve plotted the ocean floor
From Barrow south to Puget Sound
The reefs on a rock rent shore

We’ve stretched a baseline over the deeps
And plumbed the Spanish Main
Fathomed the depths of hidden bays
And measured them five times twain

Have pictured it clean on a fathogram
Charted it North and South
Have crossed it again from East to West
Here exact – lies the harbor’s mouth

By transit glass and theodolite
Layed off the endless miles
By angles, gauge, and range finder
We’ve looted the oceans files

If the paper reads “full fathom five”
You can swear by your father’s bones
It’s true as the tick at Greenwich Town
Hear – how the fog buoy moans

The surging tide – both high and low
We’ve laid on a cunning graph
Inch by inch we’ve covered the coast
And braved the deep seas wrath

By plane, and pack, and leveling rod
Metered the mountain high
The city streets – the wilderness
Have heard our lonesome cry

Plunged fathom stick on shallow mud
Planted bench marks in the rain
Used ships and boats in snow and ice
And by God – even had to plane

So we curse the weather and till the sea
Plough up the secrets grey
The charting goes forever on
Our blessing and curse – Survey

- Thus they spend the timeless years
This has been their part
To bend a force to mankind’s use
And lay it upon a chart –

In: The Buzzard, sometime after July 1, 1956.




Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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