‘Twas the Night A’fore Christmas
(by Marti Melvillle)
Twas the Night a’fore Christmas and at full length o’ ship
Not a pirate be stirrin’, the salty git!
The cannon be primed and ready to fire
In case wayward prizes be sailin’ thar.
Me crew snore below too snug where they lie
Pieces o’ eight tucked in hidey-holes nearby.
The first mate on watch and I at the helm
Had just settled in for a seafaring realm.
When out on the water there arose such a hiss
I sprang from my post to see what be amiss.
Away to the foc’s’le I flew like a flash,
Withdrew me spyglass, and drew rum from me cache.
The moon danced in silver o’er crests of the sea
With a luster that glints on brine creatures and scree.
When what to me rum-soaked eyes did appear
But a sloop decked in mistletoe driftin’ too near.
The Capt’n be dressed in bright crimson and fur
And I wondered what trick be launched from the cur.
More rapid than shark at frenzy he sailed
My hopes be – impede him, keep him curtailed.
“Now blaggard!” I shouted the warnin’ so clear.
“Think careful o’ who ye seek company here.”
He sniggered, then guffawed and answered on cue.
“Permission to board, I’ve sommat for your crew.”
Sure as fierce winds fill stout, sturdy sails
And brings swift passage for those who stand at the rails,
That plucky Capt’n breeched me vessel abeam
Calling out, “Prepare to be boarded” – a rather bold scheme.
And then in that moment the gangplank held fast
While feet scuffled ‘cross the deck near the mast.
As I drew out me blade and turned quick about
Onboard jumped the blaggard, with nary a shout.
He was dressed all in fur with a tri-cornered hat
And patches in breeches where he obviously sat.
A bundle kept slung o’re one shoulder to boot
To be certain it’s treasure, all filled with foul loot.
His eyes be so cunning, his dimples be scary
Fat cheeks lay with bristles and nose red as berries.
A tight little mouth pulled back over his teeth
Showed the git be too skilled with cutlass and sheath.
Fine kicks and a doublet and waistcoat and crops
Tied up with fine boots that comprised his slops.
A ring on each finger and gold on each wrist,
Perhaps if I stole them, they’d never be missed.
Vastly plump and too merry (his rum must be fine)
I decided right then that I’d ask him to dine.
A wink of one eye and a shake of his head
Soon told me this bloke had his own plans instead.
“Move aside there, mate,” he said with great mirth
Then filled the rum stores and ran to the berths
Where stuffing a pair of newly laid boots
At the foot of each crewman with silver and fruits
He turned to face me and winked one eye
And placed a doubloon in me palm with a sigh.
At a frightful pace the bloke grasped a free line
And swung back to his ship in fashionable time.
Then tapping his cutlass on the brim of his hat
He lifted one hand and gingerly spat.
But I heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight
“Merry Christmas, fair winds, may your plunder be bright!”
©2014 Marti Melville