David Lewis Paget
The Monster & Captain Kreel Poem by David Lewis Paget
We were out in the North Atlantic
When the storm began to blow,
We reefed in the tops and gallants so
We wouldn't end down below,
The ship was tossed in a fury,
The mate was strapped to the wheel,
There wasn't a dry man left aboard,
Not even Captain Kreel.
The Captain, he was a bully,
He would flog 'til his arm was sore,
He drove the men at their stations 'til
They couldn't have taken more,
He kept a rope at the yardarm,
A warning to every man,
His word was not to be questioned if
A tar didn't want to hang!
Each wave was a liquid mountain
That crashed on the after deck,
The wind was a screaming banshee that
Would threaten, despair and wreck,
When out from below there came a scream,
A woman, so fair of face,
But the Captain swore an ugly oath
That the ship was in disgrace!
The wife of an able seaman,
He'd smuggled the girl aboard,
He'd thought he could keep her hidden there
Until they went ashore,
But the men with their superstitions
Then blamed her for the storm,
They seized her, dragged to the gunnels
And would hurry her overboard!
The Captain barked out an order,
The jack tars staggered back,
They wouldn't defy their Captain if
The ship was under attack!
The mate then seized the woman
And bared her at the breast,
Turned her to face the heaving sea
As she stood there, half undressed.
Bare breasted, like the figurehead
They carried on the prow,
A woman was known to calm the seas
If she shamed its gods somehow,
The wind died down in the stays and yards
And the sea died down as well,
But she little knew as she covered up
She approached the gates of hell!
The seaman was court-martialled,
Up there, on the quarter deck,
Where the Captain gave no quarter,
It was keel haul, or his neck!
They tied the rope around his chest
And flung him overboard,
We heaved on the rope, and prayed he'd hold
His breath 'til he came aboard.
We dragged him under the water,
And felt him under the keel,
The rope was a little bit lighter
Than the brow of Captain Kreel,
For he was a livid monster
Who just wanted the seaman dead,
His plans for the wife were plain to see
As he sent her to his bed!
The seaman's body surfaced,
It wasn't going well,
We hauled him over the side of the ship
'Til we caught a glimpse of hell,
The rope was knotted about his chest
And twisted around his neck,
There was nothing at all below the waist,
As his entrails sprayed the deck!
Even the Captain blanched at this
But he motioned us away,
'Toss the remains all overboard
Then swab the decks - Belay! '
We wondered how Jones was cut in half,
It couldn't have been the keel,
But kept our mutterings to ourselves,
For fear of the monster, Kreel.
Out on the starboard side we saw
A giant head appear,
Just as the body hit the waves
It reared, and sniffed the air,
Then pounced on the human morsel,
Picked it up in its savage jaw,
As we shrank on back at its evil eye
It gave out a primitive roar.
There wasn't a moment from then on
We weren't all chilled inside,
The monster followed and circled us
As we rode the heaving tide,
It must have been eighty feet or more,
A great, carnivorous beast,
The serpent had tasted human flesh
And we were a human feast!
The wind had dropped, the sails were limp,
We couldn't sail for home,
We were caught in the theme of a nightmare dream
Where the beasts of the world could roam,
The Captain kept to his cabin then,
We could hear the woman plead,
With a monster within, a monster without
We were caught in a monstrous creed.
'It's all the fault of that woman there! '
I knew what the ratings thought,
'We need to be throwing her overboard
To escape the luck she brought! '
The mate came down and roused them out,
'There'll be no talk of this,
We have to get under sail tonight
When the wind begins to rise.'
The Captain showed on the quarter-deck
Just after the seventh bell,
The sun was down in the west, the moon
Was riding high, as well.
We raised the sails as the shadows loomed,
Unfurled topgallant stays,
I was watching the Captain against the moon
His back to the after rail.
The serpent's head loomed large above
The figure of Captain Kreel,
The hairs rose up on the back of my neck
As I watched the shadows steal.
It opened up with its mighty jaw
Clamped down on the Captain's head,
Lifted him clear of the quarter deck
As he screamed - 'Oh God! I'm dead! '
We never saw Captain Kreel again,
But nobody seemed to care,
We sailed for the Falkland Islands then,
And we left the woman there,
I heard she married again, sometime,
To a sailor known as Kip,
And dreams of her home in Pompey, but -
They won't let her onto a ship!
24 December 2009
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