A Pirate’s Tale

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A Pirate’s Tale
(A Crown of Heroic Sonnets)

.
I.
.
And now the gibbet and the rope are mine,
A pirate’s plight ’twas oh so aptly earned.
Much misdirection wrapped me in this twine,
Turned from a better life that I have spurned.
.
It weren’t all roses on those Dublin docks.
In fact, there be a lot of crime and grime,
Street urchins stealin’ bread and throwin’ rocks.
They counted me among them at the time.
.
Me dad was always drunk when na at sea.
At least the man me mum said was me pop.
‘Course couldn’t trust her claim’s veracity,
Her visits by strange men would never stop.
.
So at those times mama was occupied,
Well, I was free ta do what’ere I pleased,
And hung with those ta whom few rules applied.
Who’d snatch and grab the things that could be seized.
.
So, nurtured in a school of crime and strife,
This course I started on became me life.
.
II.
.
This course I started on became me life.
Amongst the seamen and tough privateers.
As tales of looted gold were runnin’ rife,
I grew ta hang about along the piers.
.
Soon I was lost ta dreams of gloried fame,
An stole away on ship bound for the sea.
I found dark hold ta play me hid’n game.
Two days from land the crew discovered me.
.
The Bosun tossed me overboard at first,
But then the Cap’n had them throw a ring.
‘Twas hauled upon the poop deck , where I cursed
Me fate in parley that changed everything.
.
Impressed ta be a member of ship’s crew,
Ta carry grog and holy stone the deck,
A boy whose age ’twere only ten plus two,
Soon learned ta be a hardened ship’s roughneck.
.
Ahoy me hearties, thus me tale began
So listen well, I’ll tell it best I can.
.
III.
.
So listen well, I’ll tell it best I can.
For life aboard a ship is na all joy.
As oft’ ’tis just adrift without a plan,
Thar’s only work or boredom for a boy.
.
It takes adjustment time ta live at sea,
Ta acclimate ta movement of the ship.
Me guts took weeks ta git all nausea free
I hugged the rail for most first sailin’ trip.
.
Had ta avoid the grasp of dirty men,
Divertin’ them with food an hearty drink.
Our officers were blind ta much mayhem,
And then there was the filth, the grime and stink.
.
But soon I was accepted one of them.
I learned all aspects of the seaman’s craft.
As skills grew, found far less things ta condemn,
And at me prior squeamishness, I laughed.
.
So now, approved as member of the clan,
I grew ta be an ocean-huggin man.
.
IV.
.
I grew ta be an ocean-huggin man,
Which means I love the sea ‘fore anything.
Ashore I’ll take a woman when I can
But they were left when ‘ere the sea would sing.
.
I sailed with crew who knew a thing or two
‘Bout how ta make our true intentions clear.
When Jolly Roger flew forth inta view
Our quarry knew they’s chased by buccaneer.
.

We’d fire a warnin’ shot across its bow
Ta force the prize ta slowly swing about.
We’d fix a grapplin’ hook upon her prow,
Then jump aboard ta clear defenses out.
.
With blazin’ pistols and sharp cutlass blades,
Inflicted deadly wounds and broken bones.
We killed the crew and ravished any maids.
Then sent them off ta visit Davy Jones.
.
I found this bloody carnage such a thrill,
I learned just how much fun it was ta kill.
.
V.
.
I learned just much how fun it was ta kill,
And spend the loot in pure debauchery
At ports that would support the pirate’s will,
Ta ransom booty that we took at sea.
.
We terrorized the Caribbean ports
And captured helpless ships upon the main.
Bloodlust and murder were our cruel cohorts.
We held all civil laws in pure disdain.
.
We coveted all Spanish gold doubloons,
And planned ta find as many as we could.
We stayed at sea most sunny afternoons.
Against all stormy nights we even stood.
.
The risks were very high, as were rewards.
So, many fools were drawn into the fire.
A life that’s ruled by musket and the sword
Is much too temptin’ object of desire.
.
When fate has fickled ways ta comprehend,
The lesson’s learned too often at the end.
.
VI.
.
The lesson’s learned too often at the end,
And I was no exception ta the rule,
Expectin’ evil actions ta transcend,
When comes the judgment for a life that’s cruel.
.
That lesson came on sailin’ ta the fore
One foggy mornin’ moored in our home port.
Surprised by one large British Man-of-War
There was no hid’n place we could resort.
.
It came downwind with blazin’ eighty guns,
And put our prize corsair ta sudden shame.
Caught in their berths each bloody mother’s son
Jumped overboard when ship was set aflame.
.
The red coats fished us out like we were cod,
Then trussed us as the criminals we were.
For once, there were a few sent prayers ta God.
The news our capture really caused a stir.
.
At London twere all hauled out from the brig,
Then sentenced by the court ta “Dance the Jig”.
.
VII.
.
Then sentenced by the court ta “Dance the Jig”,
I spent me days caged like an animal,
While friends and family didn’t care a fig,
For who’d defend a jaded criminal.
.
It all began for glory and romance,
Now I concede that here me time is done.
Calamity concludes this circumstance
Ta reach the end at only twenty one.
.
Hindsight regrets the choices that I made.
I can’t escape the fiend that I became.
While misbegotten fame and fortune fade,
There really is nobody else ta blame.
.
I should have acted differently somehow.
Like, maybe should’ve gone ta Sunday school,
And stayed far from the docks. It’s too late now.
I understand quite well, I was a fool.
.
I must admit ’twas all me own design,
And now the gibbet and the rope are mine.

.

A Crown of Heroic Sonnets contest entry

Author Notes
A young boy becomes a man, barely.The dialectic affectation was intentional.Gibbet is a gallows
Twine is hempen rope
Parley is a group meeting
Bosun: crew member on a ship in charge of the deck
Poop Deck: that deck that is farthest and highest at the back of a ship, usually above the captain’s quarters.
guts: stomach
Hugged the rail: threw up over the railing
Ta: to
Git: get
Jolly Roger: pirate’s flag, skull and crossbones
Davy Jones: pirate term for death, usually by throwing into the sea.
Man-of-War: a large battleship equipped with many cannon and usually carrying a platoon of Marines.
Trussed: tied up
Dance the Jig: to be hanged
Holy Stone: a piece of sandstone that was often used by sailors to scrub and scour the decks. It required kneeling on both knees, like in prayer.

This poem is a Crown of Heroic Sonnets.
The Crown of heroic sonnets is a sequence of seven heroic sonnets usually addressed to one person. It is concerned with a single theme and each sonnet explores a different aspect of the theme and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line and by having its final line be the first line of the succeeding sonnet.

The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet thereby bringing the sequence to a close.

A Heroic Sonnet is an iambic pentameter based poem that adds a heroic couplet to either two Sicilian octave stanzas or four Sicilian quatrain stanzas. In other words, it’s eighteen lines of iambic pentameter broken into three or five parts with the last part being a couplet. The rhyme scheme has usually been a,b,a,b,a,b,a,b – c,d,c,d,c,d,c,d – e,e OR a,b,a,b – c,d,c,d – e,f,e,f – g,h,g,h – i,i.
I chose the latter.

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Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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