Amelia Robinson

Hey there! I'm a student at the University of Kentucky and an aspiring writer. This blog serves as an outlet for all the things I want to talk about that are writing-related. I'll post some of my writing, too, for your enjoyment and critique. Thank you for stopping by! If you'd like to know more about me, feel free to visit here!

Poem: If I Were A Pirate

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If I Were A Pirate

by Amelia Robinson

July 2013

Description: This is more focused on character rather than plot. Right away, this girl's voice was clear and all I had to do, as a writer, was make sure I chose the right words. She'd take care of the rest.
I know that if I were to become a pirate,
and be on a ship like Rootless,
I’d be sure to be first mate.
I’ve got everything you could possibly ask for:
I can holler, I can command, I can swashbuckle as good
-- no, better! -- than any rotten, filthy boy,
and I’m still in possession of all of my teeth, too.
Alright, except for that one that my little brother skinned his knuckle on
but forgiveness runs strong in my family.
But more importantly, everyone says I’m real easy to talk to,
even the deaf-mute lady half a mile from my old house
who creak-creak-creaked all day long on her front porch,
and watched us striplings turn her yard into frothy waves of mud and grass.
She didn’t mind. There was music in her eyes, and a wink in her smile.
She told me once I’ve got ears blessed by angels,
but my mama says I’ve got a tongue cursed by the devil.
What mama didn’t realize was that she was raisin’ a daughter fit to be
the best first mate any ship’s ever seen.
But as I been sayin’, forgiveness runs strong in my family.

First time out on the ship, the old Rootless
and I’m gettin’ on first name terms with the surface of the ocean.
There’re apologies after I deposit my previous meal on its bright, white face,
and I hope that the waves will whisk away the shaking mouse in my chest
the way they do my breakfast.
Sneers and horrid laughter swirl around me like whirlpools,
and there is a different kind of sickness in my belly.
I wish I could pluck confidence out of the waves
like sea birds do their lunch.
I would present it like a peace offering of cheese and wine to the little mouse,
and promise real quiet-like, that if it quit shivering, I’d bring a lifetime’s food to it.
Confidence and contentment and joy and determination,
stocks that would pile to the ceiling of its quivering cage until it burst with conviction.
If I had hands that big, or fingers that nimble, that I could pluck poise from the sea
and settle it in my quivering mouse’s cage, there would be no person who would not see
the fire in my eyes, the steel of my spine, the boldness in my face.
I would never let my little mouse go hungry.

But oh, this place, this sea
is unlike any frosted imagining or candied thought
that has ever passed without permission through my mind.
There is strangeness surrounding every sight,
curiosities around every corner,
and adventures hidden in every whorl of wood.
Each mast rises above me like a fearsome clan elder,
so I always make sure to salute them and call them “sir.”
They bow over me when the storms kick up spray and they laugh at the game.
The nettings are the best to me, so I greet them with a quick detangle every morning
and at night, I am the last one to secure them with a customary good night.
The sea, the most unlikeliest thing to have ever graced the unlikely,
is the bittersweet wise woman who binds my feet to the deck
and releases my soul into the salty air.
She, like all mothers, cries with worry,
roars with frustration, and whimpers her wishes to the sky
but she is slow to punish and quick to forgive
and she never, ever forgets a tender heart.
She grabs my attention with a quick nudge at the boat,
coils a ribbon of promises around me,
that if I should just duck into her for just a moment,
there would be no frozen timidity, nor brick and mortar insecurity
that she could not wash away.
When roaring snores and gently swinging hammocks do not cover me with sleep,
she whispers sweet nothings in my ear.
When there’s a little ache for home somewhere in the hollow cave she’s carved in my chest
with her soft waves and tender symphonies,
she sends her lullabies to land on my shoulder
and drop starry nights into my ear
until the roundest, brightest summer moon
joins me on a branch in a deep, sable atmosphere
that will wave me back again and again.

See here, these are my recommendations, sir,
my love for shipping and sailing laid bare.
You cannot find a better candidate than me.
Crews call me “sister” and the sea murmurs “daughter.”
What better qualifications could anyone possibly possess
in this vastly inferior, ugly human form?
I say, Cap’n, give me your best candidate and I will match them
skill for skill, quality for quality, inch by inch,
but I guarantee you won’t find someone to match
the vastness of the cavern inside me
where you can find the sea’s initials etched in the walls.
My mind, carved rough like coral and brittle with salt,
cannot fathom any man who could rival my love
for this sea and for this life.
But if you, Cap’n, were to point to me as your best interviewee,
I would not just holler and cheer and be a kind ear, oh no.
I would work and I would sweat and I would bleed,
and I would let my lifeblood rest as a quiet testament,
slowly dripping to the deck that I so lovingly clean
with each rise and dip of the sun
Over time, I reckon all the blood I’ve spilt will dry a strange color,
for there is salt in my veins
and waves in my heart.

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