The Bootymen’s Air

Beneath the Waves – Garden of Buried Hopes by Nightblue-Art

The Bootymen’s Air

There is, it’s said, a pirate ship
That haunts the Caribbean.
Or does she sail the Orient,
Or pilot the Aegean ?
Was ever there a stranger craft
On which men went to sea on ?

No-one seems to know her name,
For all she rides the swell.
Some say she’s The Banshee,
Some The Siren, some The Belle,
Perhaps there’s plenty meet with her,
But none who live to tell.

Yet one fact all agree on,
Is you hear her when she nears,
By a slow and lonely singing
That the ozone brings our ears –
And a world away from the racket
Of the usual pirate jeers.

They claim that it’s her figurehead
Who keens upon the waves –
That is, it is the ship herself
And not her crew of knaves,
As she bares down on the helpless souls
And sings them to their graves.

But eerier yet, her voice, they say,
Will echo off the sea,
And bounce upon the clouds and back
While the breeze blows in her key,
She sounds from all directions,
And in perfect harmony.

So if you ever catch a snatch
Of ghostly murmurings,
And if your hold is full of coin
And fingers full of rings –
Then pray it’s just the whistling wind,
And not the ship who sings.


Nastia by Igor Vitkovskiy


The clock is ticking,
Fuse is lit –
So no more bricking,
This is it !
Oh no,
There’s still a long and rocky road to go.
Let’s chomp down on the bit,
For we’ll never get to reap unless we sow.
The walls are shaking,
Floor’s on fire,
The news we’re breaking’s
Looking dire –
Looks like we’ll have to take this blow-by-blow.
For if we don’t aspire
Then we’ll never overcome the status quo.
Our spirit’s flagging,
Muscles cramp,
Our mojo’s sagging,
Powder’s damp –
How so ?
We’ve faced the ebb, now let’s surge with the flow !
So up-and-at-em champ,
Cos when danger’s high, it’s too late to lie low..
We’re all we’ve got,
Let’s try somehow,
The iron’s hot,
The time is now !
Let’s buckle-up and get on with the show.
It’s time to give this world some wow
And leave behind a golden afterglow !

A Fingerful of Fool’s Gold

Photo by Pixabay on

A Fingerful of Fool’s Gold

They can’t tell, and I don’t tell ’em,
But my wedding ring is stainless steel.
Recycled from an old tin can –
It may be fake, but it’s just as real.
You see this diamond ?  That ain’t no diamond,
That’s a cubic or I’m a liar –
She does the job in her own sweet way,
What she lacks in sparkle, she makes in fire.

She’ll last twenty, might last thirty,
Before she’s looking as cloudy as me.
They say she has no resale value,
But which of us has, once we’ve lost the key ?
On-sale and off-brand – he knows me well,
As a contra-flow goat among the sheep –
To win some brides will cost you the Earth,
But I came so gloriously cheap.

Rockabye Lullabye

Photo by Luci on

Rockabye Lullabye

Sleep now,
I’ll wake you
If something should happen.
Best grab it
As it grabs you,
And blow your light out.
Breathe now
Like beach waves,
Let deltas come lapping,
Enjoy it
While you’ve got it,
There’s some go without.

Sleep now,
I’ll wake you,
But not till the morning.
Best welcome
The dreaming,
And dream one for me.
Breathe now,
Like purring,
Until the new dawning.
Enjoy it,
You’ve earned it,
And it all comes for free.

Gotcha !

Tag You’re It – Squid Game by Sparkumi

Gotcha !

Tag, goes the virus,
And suddenly, I’m it,
Chasing, and panting,
And laughing, and transmit.
No rules for no-backsies,
It’s free-for-all, all day
No sitting this one out,
We’re all of us in play.
They say this game is older
Than ancient Babylon.
Now I’ve given you my secret –
Pass it on.

Oak Apple Day

parasitic tree lurker
Oak Apple Gall Wasp by Milan Zubrick

Oak Apple Day

Little wasp, little wasp,
Laying eggs upon the tree –
Sting the one who would be king,
And sting him once again for me.
Little worm, little worm,
Wriggling in your swollen gall –
Bite the one who’s cowering,
And bite him twice for one and all.

But oh !, you’ve gone and birthed a hornet,
Let loose on us worker bees –
And king or queen, or brutal drone,
They sting the same – just ask the trees !
To rid us of a coronet
Will always leave behind a gall.
The buttocks mould to fit the throne –
The canker ripens, warts and all.


Low Battery by Matt Dixon


Hush, little robot, close your sensors,
Slow your subroutines,
Hibernate your processors and trickle-charge your energy,
Disconnect your pairings with the other young machines,
And let the diagnostics defragment your memory.
Dim your lights and underclock,
And softly let your ports undock,
And cycle down each gigabyte,
And I shall keep you safe from dust tonight.
Hush now, not a blink or beep,
Shut down to sleep
By counting integers of prime –
And I shall sing a cyber-nursing-rhyme.
Hush, little robot, and listen to the universe tonight,
It is alive with radio.
Can you hear the sighing of the hibernating satellite ?,
Or the whisper of the galaxy as round and round we go ?
So dream in noughts and dream in ones,
Beneath a thousand other suns,
And turn your logic into trust,
And I shall keep you safe from dents and rust.
Hush now, let your backups stream,
And circuits dream,
And count the decimals of pi –
And I shall sing a cyber-lullaby.

The Horticultrix

Sprintime by Pierre-Auguste Cot

The Horticultrix

She worked for the council, she mending their greens,
And their roundabout gardens and motorway screens.
She weeded their paths and she tended their sprays,
And swept up their cherries’ displays.

Her hedges were sprinkled in sloe-blossom white
As I asked if her lanes were a primrose delight.
She plucked me a buttercup, proffered with thanks –
As dog-violets guarded her banks.

We kissed to the hum of the first of the bees,
As the belfries of bluebells all chimed in the breeze –
And daffodils trumpeted Springtime unfurled,
As fiddleheads flexed and uncurled.

The teeth of the lions were under our thighs,
And they ev’rywhere shone from forget-me-not skies.
We trampled their verges, enrapt and entwined –
The daisies, though, seemed not to mind.

She showed me the places the tulips grew wild,
Aloud and ablaze, then eleven months mild.
Their flowering passion so vital, so brief –
And ashwoods were not yet in leaf.

The lords and their ladies unwrapped their white cloaks,
And the crockets were sprouting on beeches and oaks.
Our lessons botanic were daily resumed –
At least, till the mayflower bloomed.

Nice Try, Aesop

Like it says, 9 Aesop Fables by Antonio Frasconi

Nice Try, Aesop

The race ain’t always to the swift,
Nor the fight a cinch for the strong –
Though underdogs lose out nine in ten,
And the weak last half as long.
The race is won by the winner,
And the winner is usually fast –
The Hare can snooze all the afternoon,
But the Tortoise still comes last.

The point ain’t always with the smug,
Nor the sting a prod from the sharp –
And morals will lose us nine in ten
Whenever the pious harp.
The ears are won by the joker,
Who flatters more than he smarts –
The North Wind can bluster all he likes,
But the Sun will warm our hearts.

The Merchantman Shanty

detail from Moonlight over the Bosphorus by Edward Hoyer

The Merchantman Shanty

“Work songs were banned in the Royal Navy.”

– Capt A. Bakalarka

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval brig,
But there they wouldn’t let me sing
Whene’er we raised the rig

     So we hauled away in silence so,
     We had to heave without a ho,
     We dare not peep a quick-quick-slow
     Or the cat would make us holler.

We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only lubbers sing at sea
     So let all singing go.

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval sloop,
But I couldn’t let my whistle ring
Whene’er we swabbed the poop.

     So we scrubbed away in silence, see,
     We had to dumb without a dee,
     We dare not hum a do-re-mi,
     Or the cat would make us holler.

We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only madmen sing at sea
     So keep your whistle’ing low.

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval barque,
But I must not pluck a single string
Till safely after dark.

     So we sailed away in silence, aye,
     We had to hew without a cry,
     Unless the roaring wind was high
     And the cat can’t hear us holler.

We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only sirens sing at sea
     So take your singing below.

The lines in roman are sung by the shanty man, the lines in italics are sung by the crew.