The open sea hath mercy, but the thund'ring surf hath none;
And when a ship strikes raging reefs, her day is surely done.
All this the sea-wise people know who've witnessed Ocean's might,
When wintry gales arouse their wrath, and shoals are foaming white
Atlantic's heavy billows churned to seething froth one day,
When two U. S. destroyers headed for Placentia Bay;
An icy blizzard rendered visibility to nought,
As the "Truxton" and the "Pollux" 'gainst the Ocean's fury fought.
Careening wildly on a course which navigators use,
These ships were swept, by wind and tide, inside Cape Chapeau Rouge;
And there, beneath colossal cliffs, they crashed upon the shore
Where murderous seas erupted with a terrifying roar.
No printer's ink in bold-faced type could adequately tell
The awful tale of tragedy which on that day befell;
Nor could a commentator's voice descriptively portray
The hazards of the rescue, in a broadcast résumé.
The toughest man, inured to storms, would find it hard to scale
Those granite cliffs exposed to all the frenzy of the gale.
For blended with the Ocean's spume, the spin-drift snow whirled round
The icy precipice 'neath which, those ships were hard aground.
But after many lost their lives, the distant shore to reach,
One sailor luckily was swept to safety on the beach.
The bleak escarpment then he scaled, and trudged through frozen snow
Toward St. Lawrence, where he told the miners of his woe.
Those coast-wise Newfoundlanders knew the dangers they would face
In hauling men to safety in that God-forsaken place;
But out they went with rescue-gear, the shipwrecked crews to aid,
And U.S. Navy annals now record the role they played.
A hundred lives and more were saved that bitter wintry day,
To guard the cause of Freedom in a more effective way;
Such valour was rewarded by the U.S. Treasury,
Which built St. Lawrence Hospital, in 1953.
Today it stands, a monument, in grateful recognition
Of townsfolk hospitality and gallant rescue mission,
Commemorating noble deeds amid the Ocean's roar,
When the "Truxton" and the "Pollux" wrecked, on Newfoundland's bleak shore.