'Twas the night before Christmas, compartments were still,
The sailors were sleeping, as most sailors will.
The ditty bags hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The Sailors were all peacefully dreaming in bed
As visions of liberty danced in each head.
The Chief was in skivvies and hopped into the rack,
Having just come up from a midnight snack.
When out on the deck there arose such a roar,
I ran to the porthole to find out the score.
stuck out my head and started to shout,
"Just what in Hell is this noise all about?"
A moon made for boon docking showed with a glow,
It was downright cold out, 'bout seven below.
What I saw out there looked like those Mardi Gras floats,
Twas a Captain's gig drawn by four white Navy goats.
In the boat was a man who seemed quiet and moody,
I knew in an instant St. Nick had the duty.
As quickly as Monday his Billy goats came,
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"Now Perry, now Farragut, Dewey and Jones,
What's the matter John Paul, got lead in your bones?
A little to Starboard, now hold it up short,
No fluffing off now or you'll go on report!"
He was wearing dress "Reds" that fit like a charm,
His hash marks covered the length of his arm.
The gifts to be issued were all in his pack,
The gedunk was ready to leave on each rack.
His eyes they were watering, his nose caked with ice,
He wiped it with canvass, then sneezed once or twice.
He opened his mouth and started to yawn,
It looked like the Sun coming up with the dawn.
With the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He took a small nip from a bottle beneath.
He wasn't so big, but seemed quite able,
"A Bosun Mate" I figured - flossed his teeth with steel cable .
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Tar,
Who said "Evenin' Matey, here have a cigar".
He filled every sea bag with presents galore,
And he left us all leave papers, right by the door.
One look at his watch and he started to frown,
"This mid watch is certainly getting me down."
With "Anchors Aweigh" he climbed back into place,
A broad smile creeping all over his face.
Then out to the breakwater and into the night,
The gig started fading, the landscape was bright.
"I can't share the Grog with you, you see!"
"I must finish my rounds before reveille."
"So, Thank You for serving" he said pulling away,
"Merry Christmas to all - And have a great Navy Day".