Pirates have often been accused of being illiterate, ignorant thugs whose only interests were rum, booty (spell that gold, silver, and pieces of eight), and booty (spell that hot babes), but that simply is not true. Okay, on some ships it was, but if you sailed with Captain Benjamin Hornigold, William Kidd, or Thomas Tew, you had better know your stuff.
The fact is, navigators had to chart their course literally by the stars, and unlike sailors today didn’t have the guess work taken out of a tedious and dangerous journey by GPS equipment and computers. That’s not to take away from the modern sailor who still must be an expert to bring a ship safely into harbor; it’s just that these ancient sailors had to be so knowledgeable and skilled, that common sailors referred to them as Artisans.
I’ve compiled a small tribute to pirates and mariners whether they graduated from the Yale of their day, or never saw the inside of a classroom. I hope Hornigold, Kidd and Tew approve. Maybe even today’s sailors will see a little something of themselves in this “Verse”-a-tile poem.
A is for anchor pirates throw out in a storm.
B is for booty, just the thought keeps me warm.
C is for cannons that boom and then blast
It’s also for slow crew who move just half fast.
D is for the ever-dangerous Davy Jones;
He lies in the ocean ready to rattle your bones.
E is for every able-bodied sailor at sea.
There’s hardly a port that they’d rather not be.
F is for flags and the pirates who fly ‘em.
They’ll steal yours if they can,
Cause they’ll never once buy ‘em.
G is for gibbets that cage rotting bodies;
Soon only vultures will think Pirates are hotties.
H is for harbor and halyard and hammock;
Sleep in one too long, and you’ll want a bed,
Oh, by damn it!
I is for island where wenches are waiting;
The bawdiest ones get the highest of ratings.
J is for journeys that surely must end;
With endless horizons, it’s just hard to say when.
K is for Kraken, a horrible beast;
He loves salty sailors as good as roast beef.
L is for lighthouse that shines out at sea;
For centuries it’s filled sailors’ hearts with great glee.
M is for marooned pirates abandoned on shore
With a dram of hot rum and a rusty, old sword.
Here pirates are promised rum, women, and mirth.
O is for overboard when the plank is withdrawn.
Better be a good swimmer,
Cuz ye could be swimmin’ till dawn.
P is for plunder and pieces of eight
Spent on wenches and rum,
You know I can’t wait.
Q is for quarters, and none will be given;
Best fight to the death; ain’t no time to be quittin’.
R is for rum or a wanton sea rover.
On ship or in port, ain’t one that is sober.
S is for shipwrecks, but it could be for sin;
pirates are naughty wherever they’ve been.
T is for treasure. I blew mine in port
Gamblin’ and wenchin’ and rum by the quart.
U is for Uncommon Mariners at sea,
Far from all land, they’re just thrilled to be free.
V is for vaporing pirates who curse;
Resist and they’ll turn you into
Dainty hors d’oeuvres.
W is for shipwrecked with me nothing to wear;
And all I can think of it’s Five O’clock Somewhere.
X marks the spot where pirates their treasure did bury,
After feasting and gambling and making all merry.
Y is for yawl, a small vessel afloat,
In South Carolina, they call it a boat.
Z is for zero; it’s what’s left of me booty;
I spent it in bars, romancing the Cuties.
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The Uncommon Mariner
To leave a comment, click on https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/fifty-things-youll-never-find-on-a-pirate-ship/ Happy voyages out there on the High Seas of Life. Don’t forget to have some fun.
It’s hard to believe Halloween is almost here. Pirates know something about that holiday. Let’s face it who knows more about scary things like skeletons and things that go bump in the night. Especially since so many pirates were turned into skeletons over the years.
I’ve noticed a lot of advice being given to trick-or-treaters these past couple weeks. It’s good advice for kids who dare to go out in the dark, facing unknown dreads just for a little bit of candy. You won’t find genuine pirates facing their fears for a Snickers bar. Maybe a little rum, or a pretty wench, or a little gold, but it’s going to take more than a Mary Jane or some stale popcorn to get me out of me easy chair. It was a Mary Jane that ripped out half my fillings one Halloween when I was a kid.
A lot of the advice kids get is good, sound information. Travel in groups. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Watch out for obstacles. Not every adult is your friend. Check something carefully before consuming it. That’s advice every pirate should heed.
For example, a lot more pirates would have survived the Golden Age of Piracy if they stayed in groups. And even more would be alive if they didn’t take unnecessary risks. Blackbeard should have paid attention to that one. After an intense exchange of firepower, a ship that attacked him appeared to be lifeless. Instead of letting things alone, he had his men board the ship. Was he ever surprised when a whole regiment of soldiers and sailors suddenly poured on deck and decimated his crew.
And Captain Kidd was thinking more like a kid when he sailed to New York and met with the very man he trusted would exonerate him. Lord Bellomont may have held a respectable position as governor, but he certainly was not his friend. Kidd trusted two passes to Bellomont, passes that would have cleared his name. Instead, the passes mysteriously vanished, Kidd was put on trial, hanged, and his body left to rot on a dock where other sailors could view his remains for months to come. I bet Jamie Lee Curtis or Freddy Kreuger didn’t have to face anything like that.
Moms and dads have the bases covered when it comes to protecting their kids this Halloween, but I’m a little worried about pirates because some of the great advice kids are given is just plain terrible for a buccaneer.
For example, someone told his kid not to wear an eye-patch because it would obstruct his view. That’s terrible advice for a pirate. I mean what do you expect a bloke with one eye to wear? Besides when you’re being attacked by a one-eyed pirate with a black eye-patch, you’re probably going to think twice about fighting back.
Adults also tell kids to wear bright clothing so they can easily be seen. When you’re a pirate, being easily seen is the last thing you want to happen. How do you think pirates got their hands on all that booty not to mention their wench’s booty over the years?
Another piece of advice that is just plain wrong is wearing reflective tape on your costume. You can’t be serious! Bartholomew Roberts would still be alive today if he didn’t do something similarly stupid. He used to dress up in bright fine clothes with gold chains and other jewelry around his neck. Can you guess what happened to him at the very beginning of one battle? I’ll give you a hint. It was his last battle, and not because he retired.
Kids are told not to carry pointed sword, sticks, or other sharp objects. Now that is excellent advice. BUT NOT FOR PIRATES! I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell pirates before they go out to leave their swords below deck. I think you can imagine where they would stick them before I finished giving such fine advice.
Finally, kids are warned to avoid dark places. Now that’s sound advice for a kid on any night of the year. The trouble is that’s where pirates do their best work. And I can’t think of a better place for a pirate to cozy up with his wench than a quiet, dark place.
Halloween is almost here, so I gotta go. I have to look for my eye-patch and check to make sure my sword is sharp enough for whatever things I meet that go bump in the night. Then I’m going to grab me pirate wench and find a nice dark, cozy room.
Happy Halloween and stay safe.
The Uncommon Mariner
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