Sonnet of the Portuguese


Sonnet of the Portuguese

They’re coming ! Raise the alarm on the dockside !
They’re swarming, and pushing us out of the sea !
Their billowing sails, from Pembroke to Leigh,
Are storming our beaches, invading our sands !
Their cargo is toxic, their ballast monoxide –
These by-the-wind sailors, these rafts of medusa.
Mohican’d above, while their dreadlocks hang looser –
All laces and ruffles, and hooks ’stead of hands !
On the hottest of days, when the skies are clear blue,
And the southerlies breeze off the sea to the shore,
This deadly armada with venomous crew
Are planting their colonies right at our door…
These silent bluejackets are coming for you –
These unthinking killers, these seamen o’ war.

I almost feel bad in how I’ve deliberately conflated the Spanish Armada with its neighbour (with whom Britain has had a continuous peace treaty since 1386), but good puns must be seized with both hands (unlike the creatures themselves, of course).

Insidentally, according to Wiktionary the nationality of the metaphorical warship remains consistent through most European languages: portugisisk örlogsman (Swedish), żeglarz portugalski (Polish), portugál gálya (Hungarian), and even caravela-portuguesa (Portugese).

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