HMCS Trail, 1941. Photo: Trail Historical Society

HMCS Trail, 1941. Photo: Trail Historical Society

‘Hero Trail’ poem honours warship named after the City of Trail

Poem written by Canada’s Garth Paul Ukrainetz, Poet Laureate of the Blackmud Creek

How many times in your life can you say – if ever – that an innately powerful poem has been written just for you?

Well, the people of Trail have been granted the honour.

“This is the 17th poem I’ve written about Canada’s flower corvettes from the Second World War, and this poem is the deepest of them all,” shares Canadian poet Garth Paul Ukrainetz.

“HMCS Trail has a story to tell the rest of Canada … and the world.”

By Garth Paul Ukrainetz

Poet Laureate of the Blackmud Creek

Deep in the veins of West Kootenay

The Columbia river does flow

Where gold on the face of Red Mountain

Always smiles on the valley below

Where the trees slowly rise up to heaven

Anchored roots full of copper and zinc

On a path for a better tomorrow

Hero Trail with a smile and a wink

Quickly built in the fog of Vancouver

Strong of hull and her rivets were sound

Autumn launch in the leaves of October

T’was the last she would feel of the ground

Set her course for the Battle Atlantic

Early years of the 40’s were grim

For Hitler was being a tyrant

And the world was at war against him

Her mission, protecting the cargo

For England, supplies for the war

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence advancing

Hidden U-boats at Canada’s door

Always guarding and shielding the convoys

As they sailed along shores of Quebec

While they crossed the enormous Atlantic

Hero Trail keeping Hitler in check

The lads on the sonar are listening

Sneaky submarines hiding below

This hound dog is sniffing the ocean

With the depth charges ready to throw

In the boiler room hot as a smelter

As her steam engine pushes along

Every hand on the ship has a duty

In her belly the stokers belong

Hungry boys eat their fill in the mess deck

Then they throw the whole meal back to sea

For many a sailor was seasick

Oh, the ocean a cruel place to be

And the biscuits were harder than hockey pucks

Aye, to eat them the crew stood afraid

On the ice back astern cold and frozen

Games of hockey with biscuits were played

The men missed their homes back in Canada

And their mom’s missed their boys out at sea

And their grandma’s knit scarves and warm mittens

For dear grandsons, warm heroes they’ll be

When a mail sack arrived they were joyous

Treasured envelopes valued like gold

They read and reread and reread them

To their hearts their dear letters they’d hold

At night they would sway in their hammocks

Gently dreaming of heaven on Earth

Where the mountains bring peace to the people

Where each person is equal in worth

And the stars up above them would listen

As the sailors would talk in their sleep

With the whales and the dolphins and sea turtles

Oh, the secrets the ocean does keep

And such were the days of their journey

In a world very shattered and broke

Trail hungered for peace and armistice

Like a smoke eater hungers for smoke

The boys keeping hope in the sunlight

By the moonlight of U-boat attacks

On the ocean of Atlas prevailing

With the weight of the war on their backs

And when the world conflict came ending

When peace showed the way to agree

She sailed back to BC a champion

Kissed the face of Red Mountain with glee

Where the trees slowly rise up to heaven

Anchored roots full of copper and zinc

On a path for a better tomorrow

Hero Trail with a smile and a wink

2020 Garth Paul Ukrainetz

In celebration and remembrance of the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War 1945 – 2020

“Lest We Forget”

City of TrailRoyal Canadian NavySecond World War Artifacts

 

<ins>In the middle of this photo is HMCS Trail’s gun shield art, which is a hound dog. Most Flower Corvettes painted a special picture on the shield of their main four-inch gun and it became part of their ship’s identity.</ins> Titled “Sailors on HMCS Trail,” this photo is courtesy of Terry Marentette.

In the middle of this photo is HMCS Trail’s gun shield art, which is a hound dog. Most Flower Corvettes painted a special picture on the shield of their main four-inch gun and it became part of their ship’s identity. Titled “Sailors on HMCS Trail,” this photo is courtesy of Terry Marentette.