When pirates sailed the ocean blue,
They plundered ships for pleasure,
They were burly, brawny, heartless men,
Who loved ill-gotten treasure.
Tales are told how they killed for gold,
Though anything could be their prize,
Coins or silks or gems or guns,
Whatever caught their eye.
One day after a successful raid,
Some greedy pirates checked their take,
They found a necklace of fine pearls,
Much finer than a clam could make.
It must have come from Neptune's realm,
Most likely strung with mermaid's hair,
A tasteful seashell for a clasp,
No richer strand found anywhere
The captain stared with his one good eye,
(The one without the patch),
He cried, "Ho Ho, Mateys!  Look at this!"
He smacked his lips and laughed.

He held the gorgeous string of pearls,
High in the air above his head,
Then, "BANG," there came a pistol shot,
And the pirate captain fell down dead.
In the melee that followed,
The pearl necklace disappeared,
No one knew where it had gone,
And it was lost for many years.
It finally came to light one night,
In a tavern on the coast of Wales,
A seaman gave it to a barmaid,
For kisses and for pints of ale.
The barmaid took the necklace home,
A pretty bauble, she thought she got,
She hung it o'er her baby's crib,
Better than any toy she'd bought.
With no idea of their value,
The pearls were treated as a toy,
The woman, indeed, was very pleased,
They gave her baby so much joy.

Then winter came, the tavern closed,
And the barmaid lost her job,
Her livelihood now gone, it seemed,
"Oh, woe is me," she sobbed.
When her landlord came to get the rent,
She confessed she could not pay,
She pleaded, "Sir, just one more month,
Please, sir, just let us stay."
He smiled and rubbed his hands together,
When he saw her lustrous gems,
Well worth the paltry one month's rent,
He gave to her for them.
He polished the pearls until they glowed,
And placed them in a velvet case,
He sold them then for coins of gold,
With a greedy grin upon his face.
The buyer was a connoisseur
Of fine jewelry round the world,
He was delighted with his purchase,
And left at once with the treasured pearls

While in Algiers, he met a lady,
Who wore seven veils and danced,
She seduced him for the necklace
As she promised him romance.
Each night the lady danced and swayed,
The pearls were twined about her hair,
Then one night in a rhythmic frenzy,
She flung the whole strand through the air.
The room so dark no one was sure
Of the pearls' path or trail,
The patrons too engrossed, of course,
As the dancer dropped her veils.
But a quick-eyed Irish sailor,
With a quicker moving hand,
Caught and stuffed them in his pocket,
Before any search began.
Perhaps, the pearls would be his ticket
To the new Land of the Free,
An American ship was in the slip,
He boarded her surreptitiously.

The third night he came out on deck
The vessel now on the open sea,
He bargained with its Captain then,
And gave up the pearls happily.
The Captain was a generous soul,
And he was pleased with his new treasure,
For he knew that such a special gift,
Would give his lovely lady pleasure.
When his ship reached port, he hurried home,
And hung the necklace round her neck,
She kissed him, and she touched the pearls
They were so lovely that she wept.
For many years she wore the necklace,
With a pride she could not hide,
The soft glow of every pearl,
Also made her glow inside.

One day the Captain was assigned
To a brand new, modern ship,
They said it was unsinkable,
Well engineered and well equipped.
So rich and elegant the vessel,
Its fittings, plush and fine,
He asked his wife to come along,
And no way could she decline.
She packed her very best dresses,
And every lovely jewel,
She wished to make her Captain proud,
And for him she would be beautiful.
Of course, she'd wear her pearl necklace,
Which would flatter every gown she wore,
The most handsome piece of jewelry,
Of any worn on board.
On the last evening of their voyage,
A vicious storm arose at sea,
A tremendous iceberg struck their ship,
Slashing it unmercifully.

The unsinkable ship went down,
And lost were many lives,
But the Captain and his wife,
 Somehow managed to survive.
They clung together on debris,
While they watched and held their breath,
The pearl necklace, now pulled free,
Had begun its dance of death.
To and fro and back and forth,
Playing hide and seek amongst the waves,
Lost for moments in the foam,
Then reappearing, as if saved.
King Neptune then claimed ownership,
Of the pearls stolen from his crown,
With one mighty swoosh, they all broke loose
And ... one by one ... each pearl went down!

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright October 2006 ~ 2007

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