Ahoy! Just in time for “International Talk Like a Pirate Day,” David L. Harrison has published a pirate poetry collection, appropriately titled Pirates (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2008), an over-sized book illustrated with vivid portrait-like paintings of a by-gone era by Dan Burr. However, Harrison’s book captures the more unsavory aspects of the pirate (lack of) character and acknowledges that pirates were/are first and foremost thieves. These poems do not glorify pirates as heroes, but rather capture the seedy, gritty life—and death—that was their lot. An introductory (and closing) note acknowledges the same and reminds us about the contemporary pirates that continue to prey upon ships today. Here’s a sample poem that reflects the rhythmic structure that Harrison so often incorporates in his poetry.
Signing on a Crew
by David L. Harrison
‘Gather round, ye scurvy mates,
I’m signing on a crew.
You there! Can you tie a knot?
I’d say you’ve snatched a purse or two.
Does the thought of plundered gold
make ye shiver?
Make ye bold?
Ha! You’re rotten through and through!
Phew! You stinking, drunken lout!
You’d whack your uncle’s gizzard out!
Well step right up!
Beyond a doubt
Harrison, David L. Pirates. Illustrated by Dan Burr. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
This book is sure to be a hit—full of grim and gruesome details about ship’s rules, life at sea, grub, whippings, fighting, stealing, and getting marooned, captured, or hanged. Reader beware! Aaargh!
Pair this with J. Patrick Lewis’s Blackbeard, the Pirate King (National Geographic, 2006). He focuses on the fascinating life of Edward Teach in poems, facts, and endnotes, accompanied by classic pirate illustrations by Pyle and Wyeth, and more.
For more Poetry Friday fun, go to author amok.
Picture credit: amazon