By Jay Nicholls
Pirate Blacktarn is Nearly Blown Away Pirate Blacktarn was feeling dizzy, The winds above his head were being very busy. They were roaring altogether in a contest of blowing, Till the pirates didn’t know if they were coming or going. Whooosh! went the West Wind, warm and wet. EEEssh! hissed the East Wind in a fuss and a fret. Rruusssh! went the North Wind, cruel and cold, Swisssh! blustered the South Wind, burning and bold. The pirate’s poor ship was spinning round and round And the crews’ ears buzzed with the rush of sound. “I’m going to be sick,” moaned Blacktarn yuckily. “I’ll look after you,” said Big Bob pluckily. “Eeeehow!’” blew the East Wind, “these Lemon Seas are mine, I’m the wind to rule over this lemony brine.” “Rubbish,” whooshed the West wind, “it’s me they need, To bring them the rain, it’s obvious indeed.” “Oh no,” niggled the North Wind, “oh no, no, no, The Lemon Seas need me to bring them ice and snow.” “Shusssh,” blew the South, “what’s needed is my breeze, To bring the breath of warmth to the lovely Lemon Seas.” The pirate’s ship tilted from side to side, The crew fell on the deck and began to slide. They clutched at the ropes and the yardarm and the sails, Rakesh the mate grabbed at the rails, Stowaway Fay tied herself to the mast, Tim Parrot perched on her shoulder and held on fast. It was the worst of storms the Lemon Seas had ever known. “We’ll be blown to bits and pieces,” cried Blacktarn with a groan. The ship tilted one way and the mast almost snapped And then tipped the other as the great sails flapped. The North Wind blew hailstones that clattered on the deck And the West Wind whirled rain that poured down Blacktarn’s neck. The East Wind blew a fog that hid them all from view Till the South scorched it away, “Phew, phew, phew.” “We’ll drown, we’ll drown,” moaned the terrified crew. But all of a sudden the sea began to glow, And a magical figure surged up from below. Sea horses danced and sea nymphs sang And all on its own, the ship’s bell rang. For Neptune himself appeared on the scene. He shook his trident which glittered gold and green. For he was very angry and his face was very stern. The Winds went silent and looked down in concern. “What do you think you’re doing, blowing like fools Over some stupid argument about which wind rules?” “Puff,” muttered the West wind in great alarm, “We didn’t really mean to do any harm.” “I didn’t start it,” stuttered the East wind in a hurry. “Nor me,” whinged the South, “I just blew a little flurry.” “No, no,” fluttered the North, “it was only just in fun, We didn’t really mean any harm to be done.” “It’s just not good enough,” Neptune told them in a rage, “You’re causing problems for sailors at every stage. Ships are lying stranded in oceans far and near Because you rowdy lot are all quarrelling here. There’s no wind for any ship to sail, not even the smallest, Everyone is stuck from the littlest to the tallest. Now you just stop huffing and listen to me, I’ll have no more rows over who blows on the Lemon Sea. For a quarter of the year, the West Wind will bring rain, To make sure the Lemon Seas are full of water again. Then the next quarter the North Wind shall blow And sometimes, not too often, bring the sleet and the snow. The quarter after that shall blow the breeze of the East And in the final quarter, last but not least, Shall come the South Wind with the heat of the sun, So all winds shall have their turn when my will is done.” “What a good idea,” cried Blacktarn and his crew, While the Winds huffed and puffed and wondered what to do. But they daren’t defy Neptune, the Emperor of the Sea, So grumbling and rumbling, they had to agree. “Good,” said Neptune, “I’m glad we’ve settled that, Now I’ll board ship and see Blacktarn for a chat. Let the South Wind stay now and the rest of you go.” So the West and East and North roared away in a tornado And set the ship reeling in the last awful storm. But Neptune raised his trident and the South Wind blew warm And calmed the angry seas till all was at peace And the waves whispered with relief that the storm would cease. “Now let’s have a party,” cried Neptune once aboard. “How useful,” said Blacktarn, “to be friends with the Sea Lord.” So they danced and sang all day and all night. But when they awoke at the sun’s first light, Neptune and his sea nymphs were nowhere to be seen. “Was it a dream?” wondered Mick, “what did it all mean?” “Never mind,” called Blacktarn, “I stopped those winds all blowing, Now set sail crew, it’s time we were going.”
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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