14 August 1948

14 August 1948

Darling Cyclone,

If you should feel a warm, sweet, all enveloping blanket of content, fall over you some evening about 6:30 p.m., you’ll know that my thoughts of you are reaching all the way up there and tugging at your heart saying, “Hey Cyclone, be of good cheer, I’m way down here but I think of you more than you ever hope, and I love you with a love that is an ever-increasing, not to be denied, flame!”

I think of you often during the day, every day, but when the end of twilight comes and Jupiter creeps into the golden moon glow, you are beside me, I can feel you, I know you are there, and my heart sings.

In fact one night, when the helmsman made seven bells, and the lookout answered bell for bell and sang out, “All’s clear, calm night, lights are bright sir!”, my heart sang so strongly for joy of our mutual, beautiful love, that I made up a song on the wing of the bridge, while watching the birth of an evening.  I’ll sing it to you some time, if you can stand it.

Cyclone My Cyclone

I love you so-I guess you know,

How I stumble through each day,

Whenever I’m away.

But when evening rolls around,

And lays its curtain down,

I dream a dream,

A Technicolor dream,

A dream about,

Cyclone-My Cyclone,

I’m living for the day,

I come ashore to stay,

Then I’ll never take

My arms away-from,


Oh well, at least you know I love you and that you are in most of my thoughts in some way each day.  You asked me to pray for you darling!  Remember.  Well, except for the mornings when we have been docking ship or something, I’ve been to Mass and Communion every day, both in Thanksgiving, for you, to God, and as a love gift to my cyclone.

I pray especially hard at that part of the Mass where the Priest takes the paten, makes the Sign of the Cross on himself and says, “Grant of thy goodness, peace in our days, that aided by the riches of thy mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all disquiet”.

Gosh!  I’ve missed your letters since you lost my addresses.  When you get the next list, write them on the wall of your bedroom, you can’t lose that.

Speaking of your bedroom, I still recall fondly, the luscious nights’ sleep I had in your bed, with my head on your pillow, your perfume around me and a Technicolor dream inside me.

About 259 more days my darling cyclone, and you’ll be mine forever.

Goodnight my life,

I love you, my wife,




13 June 1948

13 june 1948


Dearest Heart,

Tonight the sky is clear and cloudless, the horizon sharp.  Venus, Denebola, Aldebaran, and Achernar crossed beautifully on the chart for a position of, Latitude 10′-11’S, Longitude 34′-36’W.

Can you hear me, way up there, beyond the broad waist line of the earth?  I love you, love you, love you.  Can you hear me?  Darling I know you can!

At the time you were teaching Sunday School, or finishing Mass this morning, I was kneeling in the library on the Promenade Deck, dedicated to a Moore MacCormack Mate who was lost during the war.  Hearing Mass with the rustle of the wave on the low notes in the choir and the gentle southwesterly breeze running over the soprano parts.  Truly the music of God for his divine Banquet!

Part of the time, I was in St. Pat’s with my love beside me listening to a Dominican Father talking about, “straight up and down”, and oh my darling, so it is, straight up and down!  So much so that, when in church, my mind wanders to you, as it persists in doing, I feel then that I am still praying, in a sense, and the most wonderful feeling of delicious content enshrouds me, and I am overjoyed, because I am positive that you, my love, loving as deeply as I, enjoy similar moments.  We are privileged, we too, in having each other.  God grant, fulfillment for us be not too long delayed.

I shall proclaim my everlasting, joyous love for you, and all you are a symbol of, to me, for as long as I shall live.  Just as long as you remain “Betty”, the Betty I love, I shall envy no man, and be content with my lot and God’s gift of you.

My precious I love you, I love you, what else can I say except that I’m bubbling over with desire and need and want for your delicious comforting, presence, here beside me, right now, so I could hold you in my arms closely, caress you and know that, forever, you are mine, straight up and down!

Goodnight my life,


Your Dave

Courtship, Betty and Dave

Courtship, Betty and Dave

“Tag, You’re it Venus”


At Sea, bound from Bermuda to St. Thomas
6 August 1947


Hello Darling,


I’m very close to you this evening.  It’s a truly beautiful night.  The ship has a merry pitching roll, as if deep down in her dark insides, she was laughing at a fellow who falls in love, then goes to sea.  For a while, tonight, I went on deck, smoked a pipe-full in that “skiing pipe”, and listened to my thought waves clamor with one another for your frequency.  How am I to know you are even tuned in?

Then, after a bit, while I relaxed there, smoking, the moon rose, and Venus started playing her nightly game of tag with her, and I was no longer here.  I was sitting on the porch at Scituate with my back against your knees, tasting the sublimness of an unforgettable moment.

About that time, “The Hawser Eye” takes a lively dip, and a roll, then another dip, frolicking happily in her unharnessed freedom, as if to say, cradling me, “I’ve got you now Dave Shields, you came back didn’t you!”

Sure I’m back temporarily!  But, one day soon, someone else will say, “I’ve got you, you came back didn’t you!”  And…that will be in East Lexington, not at sea!  And…that will be my love, not “The Hawser Eye”!  And…I’ll sign on for good!  Not three months.

This is the thought I shall have to close with tonight as I’m due on the midnight watch in 2 hours and have to get some sleep.  More tomorrow!  See you in a half hour.  Goodnight.




Port of Spain, Trinidad. 3 October, 1947

Dearest Betty,

If you see that kid brother of mine, before he goes back to sea, give him my best and tell him to, “keep his feet dry”!

As for Venus, the declination is such now that I can observe it transiting my meridian down here, at night, close to the moon, but, in Lexington, at this time of the year, Venus is over your head in the daytime, and Zenith distance is smallest in early afternoon. Go ahead! Make something of that.

But, if you really want to show your mother that you know your stuff, then turn the page and study the chart, and you’ll soon be able to point out some of the stars. While your studying them, think of me because at the same time, I’ll be shooting them to get the ship’s position.


David W. Shields

Nightfall~ A velvet cloak of midnight blue settles over the land.
A cloak~ Hard wearing fabric, pretext? doubt?~ fear, uncertainty.
A cloak!

Moonrise~ The pale shafts of enlightenment descend to light the breeze of faith,
tearing the cloak asunder.
Whose cloak?~ Your cloak!
Enshrouding the unknown, my love.

Behold, I am your moon!
Turn your face to me.
Bath your beauty in my shafts of enlightenment.
Feel the warm, but salty breeze of my faith.
Hold still! Whilst I tear your cloak asunder!