By Jay Nicholls
The Pirate and the Pirate Queen Pirate Blacktarn quaked with fear For his deadly enemy was near. Tim Parrot saw her, out on the waves, With her dreadful ship and her crew of slaves. “Oh help, oh fear, what shall we do?” Blacktarn muttered to his anxious crew. “The Pirate Queen is on her way, This is a woeful, miserable day.” “Our Captain is such a terrible wimp. Even his whiskers have gone all limp,” Thought Stowaway Fay, who cared not a bean, “Who is this fearsome Pirate Queen?” The Pirate Queen’s hair was fiery red, She waved a cutlass around her head. She was tall and strong and brave and bold And her crew all did as they were told. The sails of her ship were the colour of blood. Across the sea they watched her scud. “She’s coming, she’s coming,” the crew all cried. Pirate Blacktarn went off to hide. Tim Parrot flew to the top of the mast. “Quick,” said Mick, “we must get away fast.” But the Pirate Queen’s ship was faster by far. They heard her crew laugh, “Harr harr! Harr harr!” Soon, very soon, she drew alongside. Across ships jumped the Queen in one great stride. “All aboard! All aboard!” her fierce crew roared. And onto Blacktarn’s ship they stormed, Over the decks the ruffians swarmed. Till even brave Fay felt fear and panic And into a tar barrel she jumped dead quick. The tar glooped around her, all sticky and thick. But there she lay hiding, watching the mayhem And everyone wondered what would become of them. The baddies tied up the crew and swilled all the grog And went looking for Blacktarn, who lay like a log Under the table, flat on his belly His eyes tight shut, quivering like jelly. “Yo ho ho,” said the baddies, to the Captain’s alarm, “Don’t worry Blacktarn, we don’t mean you no harm, We just plan to hang you up from the yardarm.” They dragged him on deck, all of a swagger But one by one, they started to stagger. They’d drunk far too much grog And their brains were in a fog But they held on to Blacktarn as they tottered around “Here he is,” they shouted with a fierce sound. The Pirate Queen swished her cutlass about Then raised it high to give Blacktarn a clout. “No, no!” cried Fay, with a wild shout And from her barrel she leapt right out. She was covered in tar, from head to toe As she stood repeating, “No, no, no, no!” She looked so sticky and strange and weird That the enemy crew were all afeared. “A demon, a monster, a sea devil’s here! Get away quick, before it comes near!” Their fuddled brains were dreadfully scared And they raced to their ship as fast as they dared. “Come back you cowards,” the Pirate Queen roared. But at that very second, Tim Parrot soared Down from the mast and pecked at her head And even the Queen jumped back in dread. “Come away Queen, from that terrible ship,” Called the enemy crew, “quick, give them the slip.” The Pirate Queen turned and reluctantly ran. “Come on,” yelled her crew, “fast as you can!” So back she turned and set sail at once. “She’s gone, she’s gone,” cheered Fay in response. “We’re free again now, the Pirate Queen’s beat. Quick, let’s get our crew back on their feet.” Tim flew to the crew and pecked at their knots Till all were untied and rubbing at sore spots. “Get up Captain,” said Mick, all happy and cheerful. Blacktarn stared at Fay, so scared he was tearful. For brave Fay was still covered in tar and dirt, So they turned on the hosepipe and gave her a squirt And swilled her down till at last she was clean, Chanting, “We’ve got rid of the Pirate Queen!” “That’s better,” said Fay, smiling happily. “Oh,” said Blacktarn, “it’s Fay I see. It’s Fay! It’s Fay!” and he jumped up at last, While the enemy Queen sailed away fast And only a glimpse of a blood red sail Told of an adventure to make a sailor quail. “I handled that well,” said Blacktarn with glee, Come on crew, let’s get sailing across the Lemon Sea.”
Note: The ‘Pirate Blacktarn’ poems were written in the early 1990s but were never submitted anywhere or shown to anyone. By lucky chance they were recently rescued from a floppy disc that had lain in the bottom of a box for almost thirty years. There are twelve poems in the series but no indication as to what order they were written in and the author no longer remembers. However, they seem to work well when read in any order. They all feature the same cast of characters, the eponymous pirate and his crew, including a stowaway and an intelligent parrot. The stories told by the poems are set on a fictional body of water named the Lemon Sea. (Dug up by Rhys Hughes from the bottom of an abandoned treasure chest).
Jay Nicholls was born in England and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She has worked in academia for many years in various student support roles, including counselling and careers. She has written poetry most of her life but has rarely submitted it for publication.
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