By Jay Nicholls
PIRATE BLACKTARN FINDS TREASURE ISLAND Pirate Blacktarn was searching for treasure, The thought of gold filled him with pleasure. An old grey pirate had given him a map Of a route to follow without a mishap, To a secret island with a secret cove Where buried deep was a huge treasure trove. After a long, long sail, land came into view. “That’s it! Treasure Island! Come on you crew,” Blacktarn called in excitement as they rowed ashore, Right, let’s get digging and soon we won’t be poor.” The crew began to dig and dig and dig Till the hole they made was very, very big. They dug all day in the fierce hot sun, “Phew,” grumbled Mick, “this is no fun.” Blacktarn watched from the shade of a tree. “Think of all those riches, all that gold for me.” The crew were exhausted and wanted a rest. “A rest,” cried Blacktarn, “Good heavens, you jest! “You keep digging, there’s something I’ve seen. Look over there, something shiny and green.” It’s emeralds I know and maybe rubies too. Quick, dig faster, hurry up you crew.” But they only found a bottle of old, green glass. “Huh,” said the crew, “this is just a farce.” “Well keep on digging, this treasure’s buried deep,” Blacktarn said sternly. “You haven’t time to sleep.” Then Fay saw a glint, just a hint of gold. “This is it,” cried Blacktarn, “here’s wealth untold.” But when they dug deeper, all that they found Was a bright brass button but nothing else around. Blacktarn stamped and stomped with rage, “Dig deeper still, treasure’s the next stage.” They dug and dug till they were aching and tired And even the tips of their noses perspired. “Keep thinking of treasure,” said Blacktarn happily. “Are you sure it exists?” asked Bosun Mick snappily. Still they dug and they saw something white So they dug even deeper and had a big fright. There lay a skull, sunk in the sand And lying close by, a skeletal hand. “That’s it,” said the crew, “we’re not digging any more, The treasure map’s no good, that’s for sure.” “Nonsense,” said Blacktarn, “it’s from a very nice chap. “Exactly a year ago, he gave me this map.” “Wait a minute.” said Mick, “What’s the date today?” “It’s April the first,” said Stowaway Fay. The crew all groaned, then started to laugh, “April Fool, Captain, you’re a dunce and a half. There never was any treasure at all.” But poor, sad Blacktarn started to bawl. “Never mind Captain, it’s no use crying, Let’s have a feast, with some fish we’ve caught for frying,” Said Bosun Mick and Rakesh the Mate. “Then we’ll start dancing, so make sure you’re not late.” So deep into the night they danced under the moon And ate and drank and sang, till the following noon. “I’ve never really cared much about treasure,” Said Blacktarn merrily, lazing at leisure. “Tomorrow we’ll leave, for we’ve the Lemon Seas to travel And lots of strange adventures still to unravel.”
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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