A Pirate's Last Request

You wanted the last thing
I saw with human eyes
to be faces taking satisfaction
from gasps stilled
by the crack of my neck.

I'll look to the sea instead.

A pirate’s corpse
is unfit to lay
with land bound lambs
you reminded me,
unless I renounce myself.

Keep your dirt patch.
I look to the sea.

It holds my heart and soul
with a more tender
and honest cruelty
than any you ever gave.

I want no sterilized afterlife
filled with more like you.
That would truly be hell.

The sea and I suit each other.
I belong there. 

Song Choice: He's A Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean 

Process Note: A few years ago I visited an exhibition about pirates at one of the local museums. I remember reading a blurb on one of the displays that said pirates were not allowed to be buried in graveyards among the respectable citizens. I immediately had a mental picture of a pirate scoffing at that, which was followed by an urge to write a poem. I actually didn't then, due to having to wrangle my then-young children past the gift shop. But the combination of the two prompts reminded me of what I wanted to write.

Frost on the Tombstone. Photo by Liz Young.

This flash fiction poetry was inspired by the photo prompt at this week's Friday Fictioneers and the prompt at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Outsider Art.

42 comments:

  1. It's so silly, how people think that because something is important to them it will also be important to others. Why would a pirate, a lover of sea and chaos, would want to be buried in solid dirt? Makes no sense. And your poem expresses this quite clearly.

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    1. That was exactly my thought when I first saw the display. It'd be like telling me not to do something or else I'd have to drink a gallon of tea. Bottoms up! :D

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  2. This is absolutely potent, Rommy! Especially love; "I want no sterilized afterlife filled with more like you. That would truly be hell.The sea and I suit each other. I belong there." Beautifully penned!

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  3. Love the outsiders view, to be buried outside the sacred soil... I think it was seen as a punishment too, but maybe it meant that you could continue to maraud the seven seas.

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    1. It certainly was according to the museum display I saw. I also remember reading about family members pleading for loved ones to be buried "properly" in a graveyard. I think many pirates would be far happier roaming the seas.

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  4. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh me hearty. That'll do.

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    1. I'll raise a bottle of rum to that!

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  5. "a more tender / and honest cruelty" -- magnificent phrase!

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  6. Who can resist a pirate's rebellious nature. I love the assertive tone of the final lines.

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  7. Dear Rommy,

    I don't think once we're gone it will matter where the remains end up. Nicely done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Perhaps not, but people do have varied opinions on the subject.

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  8. I sure wouldn't mind being set out to sea. I love this.

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  9. I totally empathise with your pirate! I love the pull-no-punches writing, starting with that confronting first verse.

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    1. Well pirates aren't known for their subtlety

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  10. What a beautiful ending to an original life. I love this!

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  11. I agree... who do they think 'they' are "punishing" pirates by excluding them...They would never want to be amongst the land people. I think we should all be sent out to see... Circle of life, and all that...

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    1. I thought it was funny too when I saw the exhibition. It'd be like punishing me by drinking tea.

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  12. "I want no sterilized afterlife
    filled with more like you.
    That would truly be hell."

    Oh I love that!!!

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  13. reminds me of that Groucho Marx line about not wanting to be in any club that would accept him ~

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    1. Ha! Yes, it very much does at that. :D

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  14. Very powerful. The scorn of the condemned man is so sharp you could cut yourself reading.

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    1. I'm glad that sharpness came through

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  15. Oh, I am so glad you remembered! Yes, why would a pirate want to give satisfaction to the land bound lambs when his blood is tied to the sea? I really, really enjoyed this!

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  16. I look to the sea. That's my life's motto.
    Tracey@TraceyDelaplainMd.com

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  17. Even death cannot confine his soul. Nice work.

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    1. Nope! I almost feel sorry for the person who thought it might be contained. Almost ;)

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  18. I am grateful that my photo reminded you of your other prompt - lovely poem, and I have sympathy for the pirate's 'damn them all' attitude.

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    1. It was a cool picture. Thanks for sharing it :)

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  19. Did I ever show you this?
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/forgotten-jewish-pirates-jamaica-180959252/

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    1. That's awesome! Thanks Jonathan.

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