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Cowboy's Lament

-- by Sean Keck

Proudly he served beneath the waves
This Brother of the Phin.
Through sleepless nights and sunless days
He wouldnt dare give in.
For those that wish to wear the fish
Must know from bow to stern.
The pipes and valves and all the things
That everyman must learn.

Could he do what others had
And earn this bit of tin?
The question must have crossed his mind
Time and time again.
But like the men before him
He found the strength inside
To pass the tests and earn the right
To wear his fish with pride.

That was long before I met
This Brother of the Phin.
Time had passed the game wed played
To stronger younger men.
But the days of youth we dont regret
Are those we understand.
That gave us strength and formed our hearts
To be a better man.

Im proud to say I knew him
And shared a couple beers.
Im not quite sure if hed approve
Of a grown man shedding tears.
But as I try to hold them back
A voice cries out within.
The world has lost a better man
This Brother of the Phin. 

[This poem was written by Sean upon hearing of the passing of shipmate Gary "Cowboy" McLaughlin in late September, 2005 - Ed.]