A Seagoing Cowboy’s Poem for Advent

John Wesley Clay, seagoing cowboy on the three-month fateful voyage of the S. S. Occidental Victory [dubbed “Accidental Victory”], had lots of free time to write. His closing poem in his book High Adventure which he published about his trip seems a fitting post during this time of Advent with its themes of Peace and Love.

IT TAKES A HEAP O’ TRAVELLIN’

It takes a heap o’ travellin’
In this world to know it well;
A heap o’ sure enough travellin’
Where the other peoples dwell.

John Wesley Clay on right, with Norman Weber, center, and unidentified cowboy aboard the S. S. Occidental Victory, October 1946. Photo courtesy of Norman Weber.

You must see ’em in their homes,
See ’em at their work and play;
Afore you understand ’em
You must see ’em while they pray.

Customs officer and his family, Oliwa, Poland, October 1946. Photo by Norman Weber.

It takes a heap ‘o travellin’
Over sea and over land;
To understand their actions,
And their motives understand.

Two “persistent beggars–likeable kids,” Gdansk, Poland, October 1946. Photo by Norman Weber.

For other folks are strange folks,
Until you know ’em well;
But when you learn to love ’em,
You find ’em fine and swell.

Vaino Aksanen and his boys at summer home of Tsar, Kotka, Finland, November 1946. Photo courtesy of Norman Weber.

You find ’em fine and swell and good,
As you profess to be;
And if you learn to know ’em well,
Then wars would cease to be.

Children in Bremen, Germany, December 1946. Photo by Norman Weber.

Yes, it takes a heap o’ travellin’
Over sea and over land;
To build that noble brotherhood,
And claim the Promised Land.