By Jay Nicholls
PIRATE BLACKTARN’S TEETH Pirate Blacktarn had terrible teeth, He kept sweets instead of a sword in his sheath, And he ate so many, his teeth began to rot And as for brushing them, he always forgot. The inside of his mouth was greenish and grimy His teeth were broken and black and slimy. “You’re revolting,” said all the crew. “We’re not coming too close to you.” Poor Pirate Blacktarn was quite upset “What’s the matter with me?” he asked as he ate. “You need new teeth,” the crew replied. Blacktarn was hurt and went off to hide. He sulked in his cabin, all day and all night While the stars came out, very shiny and bright. Out too fell his teeth, dropping one by one, Onto the floor till all were gone. “Oh no,” mumbled Blacktarn, “what shall I do?” “Serves you right,” said his unkind crew. But Blacktarn was angry and ranted and raved Till the crew became quite well behaved. “If I can’t eat, then neither can you, Don’t think you’re going to scoff that stew,” Said Blacktarn crossly as his stomach rumbled. “Now what a mess,” his hungry crew grumbled. The crew grew thinner and thinner and thinner. Big Bob the Cook groaned, “We want dinner.” But toothless Blacktarn was stern and cruel, Grumpy and stubborn, as bad as a mule. The crew were miserable, bad tempered and sad Their empty bellies were making them mad. But deep in thought sat Stowaway Fay. “I know how to make things OK,” She told the crew one happy day. “We’ll make him dentures, all clean and smart. Come on everyone, let’s make a start.” They caught a shark, basking close by the ship And cut out its teeth, snip by snip by snip, Then stuck them in jelly mould shaped like a grin And as Blacktarn lay dozing, they popped them in. He woke with a start, “My mouth’s full of choppers!” “So it is,” said the crew, “What great long whoppers.” “Hey, I can eat,” Blacktarn cried with delight. “Quick, let’s have a feast, this very fine night.” So Big Bob went down to the galley to bake And made sausages and stew and cookies and cake. Then the starving crew just ate and ate and ate. “Oh well done Fay,” said Rakesh the mate. “Oh yes, well done,” they all agreed. “Well done, well done, well done indeed.” Now long toothed Blacktarn looks sharp and mean But he takes out his teeth each night to clean. He brushes them carefully twice a day, So his shark’s teeth dentures are here to stay. “Come on crew,” he cried with a big white grin “We’ve got all the Lemon Seas for sailing in.”
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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