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Author Topic: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse  (Read 3675 times)

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Offline Blackbead

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She Walks the Deck at Midnight

Gather around me, ye brave seadogs,
And I’ll tell ye a tale of the sea,
Believe what ye will when I’m finished,
But remember that no tale is free.

Twenty years ago I was a pirate,
Aboard the Sabre, a swift, deadly ship.
We were out of Port Royal, Jamaica,
Raiding the Main on that particular trip.

I was hard at work in the galley,
Cuttin’ bits from a big bacon slab,
When I heard the older men talkin',
And I caught a bit of their gab.

“By gar, ye all be superstitious,
I care not what any of ye say
I see your crosses and amulets and medallions
And your wren’s feathers from last New Year’s Day.”

“Ye all believe in ghoulies and ghosties
And things that rise out of the sea.
And many of ye call on St. Elmo,
Oh, yes, ye can’t fool me!”

“I heard the stories a’fore I signed articles
And even more I’ve endured since then
I know ye’ve heard it yourselves at least once
But listen up and I’ll tell ye again.”

“There’s a ghost who visits the Sabre
And tho’ she only comes one night a year
She never leaves alone in the mornin’
And where she goes is a place we all fear.”

“She walks the deck at midnight,
Flamin’ hair and a gown of mist,
Her face a mask of fiery rage,
Her hand an icy fist.”

“In life she was a lovely senorita,
Taken from a town on the Main,
Beaten and abused by a savage pirate crew,
Her torturers finally drove her insane.”

“They kept her in chains below deck
With little or nothing to eat
It was only after the worst was all over
That they found the ship’s rats were her meat.”

“One night a scalawag came to take her,
Like a fool he let loose her chains,
And swingin' them like a scythe blade,
She decorated the bulkhead with his brains.”

“Screamin' then like a banshee,
She ran out onto the deck,
Startlin' the first pirate she came to,
She turned his face into a mangled, bloody wreck.”

“Her screams brought the watch to attention,
And they soon cornered the little Spanish tart,
And with a fine shot from his flintlock,
The captain put a ball in her heart.”

“If they’d pitched her into the sea it’d been over,
But they bound her and pulled her up with a jerk,
And hung her from the bunt on the mainmast,
To let the seagulls and petrels do their work.”

“Now seabirds be right hungry fellows,
I can’t stand their shrill, screechin’, cries,
And we all know when they start eatin’,
They begin with the lips and the eyes.”

“She hung there through both the dog watches,
And some say the helm glimpsed her that night,
But when the sun rose over the horizon,
The little lady was nowhere in sight.”

“They say they never found her body,
Not a rag or a thread from her gown,
Some say she drifted up to Heaven,
I say a squeamish crewman cut her down.”

“But in your stories she comes back for vengeance,
Takin’ a crewman on the anniversary of that night,
And without any screams or blood or noise,
She drags them off into the silvery moonlight.”

“And tonight’s the very night ye all tell me,
And it’s the midnight watch that I’ve drawn,
I suppose that you expect me to be cowerin’
And prayin’ to God that I see dawn.”

“Well, ye won’t catch me singin’ ‘hallelujah,’
Or wearin’ a magic geegaw someplace,
Just look for me in the mornin’
And I’ll be laughin’ right to your face!”

He smirked as he rose from the table,
Leavin’ behind a dozen other men,
Who judgin’ by the looks on their faces,
Believed that they’d never see him again.

I vowed to spend that night above deck,
Being young, I wanted to see what I could see,
But mornin’ found me asleep on the hawser,
And the ship was as quiet as can be.

The men were noticeably silent,
They had been that way since dawn,
For when the mornin’ watch had taken over,
The laughin’ unbeliever was gone.

Of him we found neither hide nor hair,
But in truth it wasn’t much of a loss;
The sea deals harsh to a man without faith
And I think I’ll just keep wearin’ me cross.

I pray that it keeps me safe as I sail,
Or if not, that it leads me to the light,
For at dusk I board the Sabre again,
And I stand the midnight watch tonight.

She walks the deck at midnight,
Flaming hair and a gown of mist,
Her face a mask of fiery rage,
Her hand an icy fist.


   Stephen Sanders
   ©2008
"It's not the gold that sets our sails, 'tis freedom and the promise of a better life that raises our black flags."

Offline anne of oaktower

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Re: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008, 11:08:45 PM »
Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed this one.   :)
aka: Oak-hearted Annie / Anne of Oak Barrel / Barefoot Annie

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

Offline Blackbead

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Re: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 08:29:30 AM »
I thank ye, ma'am!  If ye care to read more, and poems by other pirate poets, then look for Raising Black Flags, adn anthology of poetry and artwork which should be out before the end of the month.  If ye care to know more, check out www.Blackbead-jewelry.com.  Once again, thank you, very much, for your posting!

Blackbead
AKA Steve
"It's not the gold that sets our sails, 'tis freedom and the promise of a better life that raises our black flags."

Offline renren

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Re: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 07:10:52 PM »
I like Blackbead, I like!
Renren
Wench  #  3783
Treasure Guardian and giggling interrogator of the "Feisty Lady"

Guppy # 32 ROoL

Offline Blackbead

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Re: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 07:11:57 AM »
Thank you, renren!  I hope that this one turns into a favorite "pirate's Halloween" piece!  I should get the proof copy of the book it is in tomorrow and then it will go on sale within the week!  "Raising Black Flags" contains several of my works but it also contains a piece by Captain Taffy Saltwater, who it appears you may be somewhat familiar with ("Fins up!").  Her poem is a touching work about a love that she will meet again on Fiddler's Green.  It is called "My Captain" and is a beautiful vision of pirate love.

Blackbead
"It's not the gold that sets our sails, 'tis freedom and the promise of a better life that raises our black flags."

Offline Rani Zemirah

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Re: "She Walks the Deck at Midnight," A Pirate Ghost Story in Verse
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2008, 12:16:04 PM »
Gave me goose flesh! Great one for Hallow'een, or any spooky occasion!
Rani - Fire Goddess

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