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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Pirate Plots & Mermaid Musings....

Ahoy there, Poetry Lovers!

 

I missed everyone last week.  I'd sailed off to Atlanta for our SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle conference (great to catch up with folks after a little while away!), and when I tried to post a directional sign to Heidi's place, I discovered a website glitch that kept me from posting anything for a few days.  I think they've got it all fixed now.

 

My antique map obsession continues....  I'm keeping a weather eye out, and looks like chilly temps down here are giving way to sunny days, slowly at least.  Time for mermaids and pirates to start jotting down poetry!  Or sketches!  Or "X" marks for treasure! I've been playing in the studio with upcycled journals/sketch books for the those with arabesque-ing swords or finned tails instead of feet.  (You can click on the picture above to see in my Etsy shop; I've taken several of these to the Beaufort Emproium for my wee little table, too. If you want to see more map-craziness, just put the word "map" into my shop's search bar on Etsy - I'll have a bunch more items up by Saturday.)  

 

While I wouldn't care to meet a REAL pirate, thank you very much, I did love Pirates of the Caribbean - the ride at Disney World when I was young, and later, the movies. Old treasure maps have always been on my "favorites" list. And, of course, growing up in Florida, I fancied myself a mermaid on many occasions.

 

Here in the Lowcountry, we did have real pirates back in the day! Click here to read about them - Blackbeard, for one, and women pirates as well as men. 

 

I couldn't find a replica map to purchase that fit the exact years of the waves of piracy (get it? waves?), but I found a wonderful reproduction map of the Southeastern/Carolinas coast from around 1745, and that's what I've been using for these upcycled journals. 

 

Are you a fan of Michael Hague?  One of my favorite of his books is THE BOOK OF PIRATES (HarperCollins, 2001) for its mysterious, spooky, rollicking art.  Inside you'll find classic cut-throat stories from Washington Irving, Robert Louis Stevenson, and many more. 

 

Included is "The Island Come True" from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1860-1937), with a few ditties dotting the text. 

 

Here's one:

 

"Yo ho, yo, ho, the pirate life,

the flag o' skull and bones, 

A merry hour, a hempen rope,

And hey for Davey Jones."

 

 

And here are a few opening lines from John Masefield (1878-1967):

 

 

A Ballad of John Silver

 

 

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

 

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

 

...

 

Click here for the whole poem. 

 

And, from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, which premiered December 31, 1879, a few lines:


 ...

 

(King)

When I sally forth to seek my prey
I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships, it's true,
Than a well-bred monarch ought to do;
But many a king on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his crown his own,
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than ever I do,

For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!

For I am a Pirate King!


(Chorus)   

You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!

...

 

Click here  for more. 

 

Ever wondered about the difference between a pirate, a privateer, and a buccaneer? The Mariners Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia, has you covered, with these short posts by Brian Whitenton from 2012.  Enjoy Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Now turn that bow toward  Sloth Reads for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup.  (Don't worry; you'll be able to goof off after all your rowing.) ;0)

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Poetry Friday - Irish Leanings & Yeats

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

We're a week into March.  Feeling Irish yet?

 

As I've been reminiscing about our family "ancestral" trip last June and pining for Scotland, I'm fondly remembering our traipsing through Ireland, too!  (We're all ridiculously Irish as well as Scottish, English, Welsh....)We took a day trip from Dublin out to the countryside and Glendalough, covering some of the same ground we did 22 years ago on our first trip to The Emerald Isle, when the kids were wee tykes. In November, I posted a picture of a Fairy Tree from our recent trip, and a Yeats poem, here

 

I've come up with a couple of Irish-themed items in my studio, too, also pictured above.  (Here's the bookmark link and the small journal/sketchbook link.)

 

With St. Patrick's Day inspirations, I steered again toward our good friend William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) for today's poem. It blends the real and mythical.  Yeats was so intrigued with the faeirie world, and I wouldn't have been surprised to see something fey on those paths through the Irish woods - they just tremble with green, with life, with magic!

 

 

 

The Song of Wandering Aengus


W. B. Yeats


I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

 

 

Here's a link to the poem at the Academy of American Poets. 

 

And here's a link to a teaching guide from The National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

The introduction reads:

 

William Butler Yeats wrote "The Song of Wandering Aengus" on January 31 sometime in the late 1890s. It was first printed in 1897 under the title "A Mad Song." The current title "The Song of Wandering Aengus" was applied when it was finally published in The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). These early collected poems displayed Yeats's mastery of the lyric form as well as his passion for Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, which were to fuel his poetic genius throughout his career.

 

Wishing you lyrical language and maybe a faerie intervention as we bound toward Spring. 

 

Be sure to visit our wonderful Catherine at Reading to the Core for Today's Roundup.  She's been long-planning a theme around International Women's Day, which I forgot about, again, until just now checking the Roundup schedule.  (This international woman is still looking for traction in this new year. :0! )

Catherine, THANK YOU, and I am cheering on you and others from the lichen-strewn sidelines!

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