Pirates! Kidnapped Queens! Swashbuckling Adventure!

Hey: here’s a poem about adventure on the high seas. Maybe read it while wearing an eye-patch and waving around a cardboard sword. If you have a parrot on hand (or shoulder?), extra points. Just try not to get seasick…

Of the Swashbuckler and the Roma Queen

Its all castanets and clatter
for The Swashbuckler is tied up, bungled
by his boot caught in the rigging,
dangling head-first fifty feet up
and the Roma Queen, once rescued,
now cornered in the Crow’s Nest,
and the crew alerted, staring
up from the deck, watching
her purple shawl play the wind, wondering
how this drama will end.

This is the dream
and the fear
and the reason

We risked the climb to the top
of the mast to change the flag
in the first place—to see
the sea heaving its blue breast
far below, the pirate deck,
the chance we might capsize
and roll all the way around,
plucking barnacles and doubloons
with our teeth, seaweed weaving
our hair, a braid of eels, living
to tell whatever tale it is
we’ve found to tell.

The Queen, worried, watches
the Swashbuckler, hamstrung,
and the Swashbuckler stares
at the pirates, the blood
going to his head, his vision
blurry, the pirates staring right back.

No one moves a muscle.



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