This poem gave rise to my Adolescent Novel The Riddled Mystery at Pirate Cove.
In the dark of night, he looked a fright,
Bushy-bearded, bold and red.
His beady eyes could curdle the cries
Of tortured souls, long since dead.
With enormous height and eye–patch tight
And a stone–cold, ruthless heart,
Both far and near, men shook with fear
At the sight of Peg Leg Bart.
Now Bart was a terror whose hand was the bearer
Of a gladius sharp and cold.
He cut and he gashed, he gutted and slashed
Each matey who sought out his gold.
‘Three clues have been laid, and a price will be paid,’
Swore the peg leg by all that’s divine.
‘By the man whose ill luck, or whose nose for the buck
Puts them into his hands before mine.’
A devil was he, for no pirate could be
As vicious and nasty and cruel
As Bart when he lay in wait for his prey,
With the vengeance of a ghastly ghoul.
From the Matador’s Nest, somewhere out west,
A stranger arrived at our shore.
Undaunted, he taunted, it was Bart that he wanted,
And what a vicious scowl he wore.
Folks called him Yancy, this man dressed fancy,
In his buttoned coat, long and blue,
Which hid the blade of a renegade
In a stance that fell most askew.
‘When I catch that fiend who mocked and demeaned
The ship known as Magdalene,
I will run him through,’ said the stranger in blue,
‘And feed his heart to my men.’
My blood ran cold from those words so bold,
For I knew of Bart’s wrath in the first;
From my days young and ginger, when he cut off my finger
And my name and ancestry cursed.
Still there’s no denying that men started crying
At the sight of Yancy’s stare.
And a big part of me was yearning to see
Yancy venture where men feared to dare.
But Bart was no man, he belonged to a clan
Where men called themselves buccaneer;
And as sure as Bart’s leg sat atop a stumped peg,
He was happiest when instilling fear.
It happened by chance, that Bart and old Yance
Crossed swords by the shores of the sea.
Yance made not a sound, Bart stomped on the ground,
Hissing: ‘Mate, are you looking for me?’
With little emote, Yancy threw back his coat
And unsheathed his sword rather hard,
Returned Bart’s cold stare with his own icy glare
And he put the Pegleg on his guard.
The men exchanged slashes of swords, leaving gashes,
And Yancy’s blade snipped off Bart’s patch.
Bart replied with a grunt, unimpressed with the stunt,
But we knew Bart had now met his match.
Mild men held their breath, the strong ones smelled death,
And those in the Inn sipped their beer.
All anticipated that one man was slated
To die, but which one was unclear.
The clank of a blade was all that remained
When Bart’s skull smacked the edge of the dock;
A kick to the leg resting on a stumped peg,
And Bart’s reign was no longer amok.
I felt Bart’s cold stare, his eyes empty and bare,
Though I knew he was surely deceased.
His head tilted south, blood poured from his mouth,
Yancy’s blade had dismantled the beast.
And as quick as he came to our shores wielding blame,
The stranger had left with his plunder.
He’d dispensed of old Bart and digested his heart
And Peg Leg now lies six feet under.