Peace, the only duty

When visiting my childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania earlier this week I made a chance discovery. I was helping hang a print and went looking in the cellar for the hammer and nails. When downstairs a pile caught my eye. In it I discovered my grandfather’s Penn State 1948-49 junior year academic book. It’s still in decent condition nearly 65 years after graduation and 15 years after his death. It’s a treasure to me for a host of reasons.

It also contains, as far as I can tell from a few DuckDuckGo searches, 19 of my grandfather’s poems. Little things he wrote as a 21 year-old who had seen a stint between high school and college in World War II’s Army Air Corps:

The beating, beating, beating
Of waves upon the wall,
The loudly quiet ocean;
I hear its tempting call.

It calls me from monotony,
From life’s dull, drab routine,
With all its savage drumming
And with its silver sheen.

It calls me to a better life,
Where all about is beauty —
The sun, the sea, the stars,
Peace, the only duty.

13 Oct 1949

This was written about five years before he bought his 30′ Tahiti ketch SKOAL and sailed across the Pacific. The photo with this post captures SKOAL on June 22, 1955 in the Pacific not far from Isla Isabela shorter after they had transited the Panama Canal.

He had that “better life” with SKOAL under the sun, sea, and stars before shipwrecking in a storm in French Marquesas at Ua Huka’s Hane Bay.