On the High Seas

On stormy nights when thunder rolls
Across the open seas,
The pirate ship that good folk dread
Sails calmly on its breeze.

Destruction follows in its wake,
Fresh terror where wind blows;
“The Seabed” etched upon its bow
For where it sends its foes.

Its fearsome captain at the wheel
Commanding each attack;
Her infamy precedes her deeds:
She’s known as “Black Toed Jack”.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She tracked the ancient Argonauts
To Thessalian Greece;
Then stunning Jason with her sword
She stole the Golden Fleece.

She commandeered a spectral crew
Without a priest’s support;
Then broke the Flying Dutchman’s curse
By sailing it to port.

When mutineers opposed her will
She made them walk the plank;
Although they wore their PFDs
The sharks made sure they sank.

Around the globe she sailed three times
Pursuing Moby Dick;
When seamen shouted “Thar she blows!”
She caught him with a click.

She raised Atlantis from the deep
To prove it wasn’t lost;
Then let it sink back down again –
It’s upkeep too high cost.

She beat the ghost of Davy Jones
At underwater chess;
The penalty for his defeat:
To wear a muumuu dress.

She found the Monte Cristo gold,
So took it for her own;
Forgetten in her Bitcoin vault,
Two thousand times it’s grown.

When Blackbeard tried to steal her loot
Her cutlass proved the best;
With six quick flicks she shaved him clean,
Providing birds a nest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So that my friends is just a taste
Of what awaits at sea;
If you should sight the Pirate Queen
Trim sails, dear fools, and flee!

If Lady Luck be yours that day
So fickle winds be true,
Then count your blessings you escaped
A fatal rendez-vous.

But if no smiles does she bestow
Despite how hard you pray,
Then Black Toed Jack will take what’s hers –
You’re going down this day.

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Bella’s Long Weekend

Now I am sure you’re wondering
What Bella did each day;
While you were up at Indian Arm
At home she didn’t stay.

On Saturday she went to space
In search of fashion trends;
Although the stores weren’t up to much
She made some starfish friends.

She swam across a tranquil sea
Under the starry skies;
Around and round the moon she went
She never saw sunrise.

She cloned a pig with Pegasus
So that the pig could fly;
She flew it to the sun and back –
It didn’t crispify.

She starred on Sunday’s Muppets Show
When they were out on tour;
Miss Piggy tried to upstage her,
They settled for a draw.

She read a Song of Ice and Fire
Then wrote the last two books;
She made sure dragons ruled the world
As barbecuing cooks.

She rode upon a unicorn
That thought it was the last;
But Bella found its family
Within the sea amassed.

On Monday Bella brokered peace
Across the Middle East;
She solved their problems with her purrs,
Hostilities then ceased.

She fought Medusa, Gorgon Queen,
With hissing snakes for hair;
But Bella wasn’t petrified,
She froze it with her stare.

She learned the truth of alchemy
Transmuting gold from lead;
She made her fortune, piled it high,
She used it as her bed.

So now you know what Bella did
While you were up the creek;
She’s really very tired now –
She might just sleep the week.

On Pemberley Estate

1.

On a warm springtime morning in early May
Did the five Bennet sisters, most happy and gay,
Depart with their mother by horse-drawn carriage
With hopes of matches and dreams of marriage.

Much birdsong and blossom were they supplied
As they sallied through Derbyshire’s countryside
To their destination, great Pemberley Estate,
Where Fitzwilliam Darcy would them await.

Yet on their arrival just Bingley was present,
Who greeted them warmly, demeanour quite pleasant;
They admired the fine gardens, the topiary bushes,
Before heading inside for sumptuous lunches.

In the drawing room after, they reclined at ease,
Exchanging some gossip while sipping their teas;
Mister Bingley’s attentions affixed on dear Jane –
The mutual affection abundantly plain.

As the day drew on and the clocks struck four
A mud-splattered figure appeared at the door;
His manner erect, his expression severe –
Yes Darcy had come, dour-faced and austere.

2.

Begging pardon to all for arriving so late
He conveyed his grave sorrow at making them wait;
He explained that affairs had kept him too busy,
Then surprised the whole party by speaking to Lizzy.

“Miss Bennet, with you I do now wish to talk;
Would you do me the honour of taking a walk?”
At Darcy’s approach Eliza’s heart leapt,
But just nodded demurely she’d kindly accept.

There upon his arm they took leave of the rest
To stroll through the gardens while walking abreast;
His desire to converse had apparently passed
But circling the lawns left her heart beating fast.

When he finally spoke he was quite stiff and stitled,
Still she clung to his words as her guard slowly wilted;
“The weather, Miss Bennet, has turned rather wet
Shall we pass through the greenhouse to see out the threat?”

After pausing a moment she gave her assent
So into the hothouse the pair of them went,
Where humid conditions brought summer inside –
Ripe peaches and strawberries could each be espied.

3.

The fruit on display gave them both food for thought –
It finally forced Darcy to say what he sought;
“Now Miss Bennet I know that I’ve been rather cruel
But I hope you’ll forgive me for acting a fool.”

Eliza’s pulse quickened at Darcy’s address,
She was highly surprised by his tongue’s tenderness;
His intentions seemed worthy she’d readily concede,
With the slightest of motions she bid him proceed.

Encouraged he went on with such animation
That Eliza’s breath shortened with rising elation;
“Miss Bennet” he uttered, tongue knotted and tied,
“To deny this much longer I cannot abide.”

His pressing again set her nerves all aquiver
Exciting her blood, a volcanic red river;
“Miss Bennet” near whispering, while taking her hand
“I wish us to marry, do you understand?”

“Mister Darcy!” she cried, the tide bursting at last
“Oh yes sir, oh yes!”, wildest dreams far surpassed;
This sudden denouement, so out of the blue
“Mister Darcy!” she gushed, all her wishes come true.

The Okanagan Odyssey

This post brings together the prologue, six chapters and epilogue that comprises the epic Okanagan Odyssey for your possible amusement.

Prologue

Upon a quest four knights set out,
That they were brave there was no doubt;
So full of courage, ardent zeal,
Success would come with each ordeal.

Four knights there were, I have just said,
Their colours: gold, blue, silver, red;
Quite what their goal was no one knew
Just that they would all see if through.

The Silver Knight, she led the way,
A joyful presence everyday;
A Seraphim upon her shield,
A force of nature in the field.

Sir Dandelion by her side,
The Knight of Gold, with humble pride
Devours feasts where’er they be:
The highest peak, the deepest sea.

The Minstrel Knight, she played the lute,
Uplifting spirits on her route;
Her crest: an archer firing flames,
Symbolic of her noble aims.

The last, in blue, the Salmon Knight
Had journeyed from the morning light;
He brought with him a bag of words
To feed their minds and hungry birds.

This is the tale of that small band,
Who travelled far across the land;
Of where they went and what they saw,
Of creatures fought and much, much more.

So put your feet up, one and all,
As I for you will now recall
The greatest quest in history:
The Okanagan Odyssey.

Chapter One

One summer morning, clear and bright,
Our heroes gather at dawn’s light;
They sally forth with noble hearts,
There on the road their questing starts.

The band sets off towards the east
Where rumoured lives a monstrous beast;
Perhaps, they thought, they’d gain acclaim,
That slaying beasts would grow their fame.

Or maybe they would find a ring,
The type with power, that sort of thing,
But not the kind that rules them all
For there lies danger, four foot tall.

They journeyed hard for many hours
Until way off they spied two towers,
Imposing fortresses of wood,
On a Hillside the castles stood.

“Behold!” declared Sir Dandelion
“At yonder parts we’ll have some fun!
O’er there Gehringer Brothers hold
Enormous feasts, I’ve heard it told.”

Their bellies growled with mean intent
(No real confusion what that meant)
So on towards the keeps they wound
With gastronomic dreams profound.

By chance they came upon a man,
A bronzed Adonis – no fake tan;
He claimed to be a son of Zeus:
The Gorgon-slaying Perseus.

He shared with them some loaves of bread
So soon enough they felt well fed,
Then washed it down with copious wine
That left them feeling mighty fine.

“I say, you people” spokest he
“I wonder if you might help me;
My current trial involves some shoes
Belonging to Ms Ruby Blues.”

“She’s having trouble with her feet
Because her shoes are too petite;
My trial’s to find the perfect shoe
But I don’t know what I should do!”

At this the band all shrugged, bar one:
Ser Salmon knew what should be done;
Ms Blues would need some Happy Socks
A pair of those would tick the box.

Such splendid socks should save her feet
So that she never would be beat
By shoes that squashed and cramped her toes,
They’d bring an end to her foot woes.

With gratitude and renewed hope
Did Perseus then onward slope;
He left the band a magic sword
Recovered from a dragon’s horde.

“Le Vieux Pin” was the sword’s true name
An old wood blade that could enflame
When darkness fell at close of play,
When crittered things came out to play.

The blade in hand, the Silver Knight
Did lead her party by its light;
Until exhausted, needing sleep,
Made camp and rested, slumbered deep.

Chapter Two

When morning came it then transpired
That new directions were required;
They’d camped upon a floating isle,
To travel back would take a while.

Although they didn’t feel too smart
They breakfasted and made a start;
The Minstrel Knight broke into song
So that their moods weren’t down for long.

Upstream they mosied to her tunes
Accompanied by wild raccoons
Which leapt about from branch to branch
Til reaching See Ya Later Ranch.

The ranch was empty, save a dog,
A lab cross sleeping like a log;
It bounded up when they came in,
It made their day feel good again.

The dog was friendly, playful too,
It liked to tug with its toy chew,
To run around and fetch a stick,
Its tongue lolled out, its legs were quick.

There playing games of hide and seek
Along the banks of Hester Creek
A smoke descended, shrouding all
Within a dim and deathly pall.

A silence fell within the band
At change they didn’t understand;
Then moments later, at a clip,
There came a ghostly pirate ship.

Upon the prow there stood a man
Who struck a pose of great élan;
The dandiest pirate in the world,
A splendid moustache he there twirled.

“What Au!” exclaimed the privateer
“Be that the Golden Knight right here?
And by his side, who looks so fine
Be that the Lady Argentine?”

“I greet you both with all my heart
For I’m a fan of all you art:
Direct and daring, wordly wise,
So full of skill and enterprise.”

“Two more companions you possess
To whom I shall now each address.
Ser Salmon, forward please step now:
To pretty words I deeply bow.”

“And with you three, where she belongs
The one and only Queen of Songs!
I beg, dear Queen with voice so pure
Please sing and grant thy music’s cure.”

At this request the Minstrel Knight
Picked up her lute to his delight;
She sang for him an ode to joy
That made him cry just like a boy.

Transfixed and stunned the pirate lord
Invited them to come aboard;
“My dear new friends I welcome you
To feast tonight with all my crew.”

And so as darkness crossed the land
This was a very merry band
With midnight toasts they drank more wine
And sang together Auld Lang Syne.

Chapter Three

The morning after, as dawn broke,
With bleary eyes they slowly woke
To find the pirate ship had gone,
By foot they’d have to muster on.

They found themselves, by chance or fate,
Right by the towers seen of late;
Ser Dandelion roared with glee:
Inside he’d find a pot of tea.

As they approached the nearest keep
They found a moat ten metres deep
And which appeared five times as wide
To those of them so eagle-eyed.

Nearby they found a granite ship
In which they thought they’d make the trip;
They placed the Stoneboat in the moat-
To their dismay it did not float.

As it submerged their spirits sank
How would they reach the other bank?
Then from the waters help appeared:
Four giant turtles gently reared.

They sat upon the turtles’ backs
Consuming sweet potato snacks;
There on those spacious shells they rode
When from the water leapt a toad.

“Youse folk yer must be really thick
A worser place yer couldn’t pick;
A monstrous creature lives right ‘ere,
She’ll scran yer down yer’ve nae idea.”

“Her teeth are sharp, as are her claws,
She’ll chew yer up without a pause,
And when she’s done she’ll spit yer out,
That much is certain, ah’ve nae doubt.”

Right then the moat around them swirled
As from the underwater world
The Monster rose up from the deep:
“Please keep it down, I’m trying to sleep!”

“I’ve got to get my forty winks
I haven’t time for your hijinks.”
With that she grabbed the chatty toad
Submerged and sank to her abode.

The knights soon reached the other side,
And thanked the turtles for the ride,
But found that both the keeps were gone,
A baffling phenomenon.

So on they trekked with unknown goals
While slowly wearing out their soles;
They lost themselves in Poplar Grove
But found a hidden treasure trove.

Beside the treasure, sound asleep,
The fearsome dragon, Nk’Mip;
Our heroes had no wish to croak
So tiptoed off before he woke.

Nearby they found friend Perseus
Appearing lost, directionless;
He’d solved the problem with the shoes
But had since lost his questing muse.

Inviting him to join the crew,
He claimed it was a dream come true;
So on they pressed, that band of five,
To future glories they would strive.

Chapter Four

So here they are, the brave quintet
(Who haven’t found their quest just yet),
As one they would now right some wrongs,
Send evil back where it belongs.

Their new companion, standing proud,
Puffed out his chest and clucked out loud;
No one could beat this strong-willed crew,
His nemesis would get her due.

“I say” spoke he “I have a thought,
A way for us to have some sport;
In Black Hills yonder stands a maze,
Its winding paths we should appraise.”

Without a better plan in mind
They were as one that way inclined;
Towards the maze they onward pressed,
Their friend’s intent they had not guessed.

His planned betrayal they knew nought,
Just that adventure would be sought;
That there would be some fun ahead,
Some pretty pickles prior to bed.

When they approached the labyrinth
They found a cockerel on a plinth;
His coat was gules, his feathers too,
His welcome “cock-a-doodle-do!”

“There’s danger here” Red Rooster crowed
“No one escapes this foul abode;
If you go in, you won’t come out-
If I were you I’d turn about.”

At this the band did contemplate
If in this place they’d meet their fate;
Past hardships they had overcome,
This maze would not be worrisome.

They entered in, quite sheepishly,
Compelled by curiosity;
The rooster’s parting sad refrain:
“I won’t be seeing you again.”

Then after what had felt an age
They found the centre of their cage;
And there inside a creature prowled,
Impatiently it loudly yowled.

The beast was fearsome, straight from hell:
The Legendary Tabbyshell;
With razor tongue and claws of steel
She eyed them up for her next meal.

There petrified by her hard stare
No one could move, no one would dare;
As she intensely watched her prey-
She didn’t rush, she had all day.

The merest inkling of a growl
Was all it took to scare the fowl;
He chickened out, he tucked his tail,
No glory for him in this tale.

When after Perseus had split
Her miaows commanded them to sit;
Onto the Minstrel did she leap,
Curl up and then fall fast asleep.

So while the band had been five strong
That hadn’t lasted very long;
But with their newfound feline friend
They’d stay together ‘til the end.

Chapter Five

When Tabbyshell did loudly sing
Of grievous hunger, yodelling,
They thought that waiting would be rude
So set right off in search of food.

Retracing steps they sought escape
Until they crossed a mighty ape;
Although their fortunes looked quite grim
The Tabbyshell took care of him.

Relieved, they ambled on again
(The monkey wouldn’t bring them pain),
But came upon a noxious smell
That left them feeling quite unwell.

Beside the bog at Upper Bench
Enclosed in its eternal stench
Their stomachs retched at scent so foul
They almost there threw in the towel.

Then making haste to cleaner airs
They shadowed passing spirit bears
Who knew their way out from the maze
So that the friends weren’t stuck for days.

When out the labyrinth they came
Much gladness did they all proclaim;
The air was free, the sky was clear,
It filled their hearts with fullsome cheer.

Alas, that didn’t last too long
(Inevitably things went wrong);
When taking lunch at Township 7
They thought they’d died and gone to heaven.

For from the skies there fluttered down,
With halo hovering o’er its crown,
A gleaming angel, pearly white
Whose countenance was glowing bright.

She brought with her a fount of mirth
As she descended down to Earth;
She also brought with her some booze
She’d stolen from a pleasure cruise.

“Hello, my dears” she broadly slurred
As from her vestments she conjured
A round of drinks to there consume,
Their present need she did assume.

“Upon a quest you all set out
But dear oh dear you’ve come to doubt
The worthiness of what you seek
Forgetting that you’re each unique.”

“What you all do you do so well-
Especially with Tabbyshell;
You should continue, not give up,
Despite your present, brief, hiccup.”

“With lessons learned in heaven’s choir
I’ve flown to you to now inspire;
Inebriation’s not a crime
You must have fun from time to time.”

“I’m here for you when you need me
Just like I am now, drunkenly;
With alcohol I’ll lend a hand
For hardship isn’t ever planned.”

Then from her glass she deeply quaffed,
With beating wings she bore aloft,
She left the group with minds agog,
With wonder at her monologue.

Chapter Six

The five-strong party soon regrouped
Their questing spirits hadn’t drooped
The angel’s words had warmed their souls
Just like an engine fueled with coals.

Although they might not share her creed
They’d call on her in times of need,
To combat forces of despair,
Despondency must best beware.

Bus as for now they had to plot
A course towards their Camelot,
For only there would they then find
The quest that brought their stars aligned.

They’d heard it said it lay due north
So on that heading they set forth;
Yet hadn’t even hit their stride
When desert stretched horizon-wide.

They stopped a while to have a think
(And also have a little drink),
Outside a tavern thought a myth:
The Adega on 45th.

While pondering, something quite bizarre
Passed quickly by – a yellow car!
They watched it speed off ‘cross the land,
It vanished like a grain of sand.

“Hey, yellow car!” Ser Salmon yelled
Transfixed by what he had beheld;
“We can afford to go explore
If we’ve a car or 4×4.”

Such transportation there was not
Yet somehow they had near forgot:
The camel camels by the tree,
Just perfect for this territory.

To cross the arid, desolate waste
Could not be done by day in haste,
So when dusk fell they took their steeds
To brave the dust and tumbleweeds.

While navigating overnight
“La Stella” was their guiding light,
Their polestar leading them towards
Their epic win, their great rewards.

As dawn approached they made their camp
Before the sun could blaze its stamp;
They slept all day until it set,
Then mosied on without its threat.

This pattern carried on for days
From waning light to morning haze;
The desert’s kingdom seemed immense,
The end of it they could not sense.

Yet end it did when on a ridge
They spied below a rainbow bridge;
There guarding it was Whiskey Jack,
A gruesome golem, marble black.

Now Mister Jack was quite the brute,
Misconduct, mayhem, his strong suit;
But snores told them the golem slept,
So cross the bridge the party crept.

And lo, what do you think they found
When once again on solid ground?
Yes after they had been to roam
Their path had led them all back home.

Epilogue

Upon a quest four knights set out,
Their courage now beyond all doubt,
Their iron wills, their nerves of steel,
Had served them well through each ordeal.

Four knights there were, you’ve heard it told,
Their colours: red, blue, silver, gold;
Quite what their goal was none could say
Yet still adventures came their way.

Through many lands and lines they passed
And on their journey met a cast
Of many creatures, great and small,
With most good friends (but not quite all).

They didn’t fight an awful lot
Like Galahad or Lancelot;
At least it wasn’t spinelessness
Unlike that chicken Perseus.

Instead they drank the night away
Enjoying wines with fine bouquet,
And so much food did they partake
They often had no room for cake.

But now full circle they have come,
Recounted for you in this poem;
They’re having each a well-earned rest
Until they start on their next quest

That means dear reader it is time
To now conclude this winding rhyme;
It has, I hope you will agree,
Been quite the epic odyssey.

So fond goodbyes from all the band,
Except of course, by her command,
For Tabbyshell, she’ll stay with you,
As shall the happy memories too.

Okanagan Odyssey: Epilogue

Upon a quest four knights set out,
Their courage now beyond all doubt,
Their iron wills, their nerves of steel,
Had served them well through each ordeal.

Four knights there were, you’ve heard it told,
Their colours: red, blue, silver, gold;
Quite what their goal was none could say
Yet still adventures came their way.

Through many lands and lines they passed
And on their journey met a cast
Of many creatures, great and small,
With most good friends (but not quite all).

They didn’t fight an awful lot
Like Galahad or Lancelot;
At least it wasn’t spinelessness
Unlike that chicken Perseus.

Instead they drank the night away
Enjoying wines with fine bouquet,
And so much food did they partake
They often had no room for cake.

But now full circle they have come,
Recounted for you in this poem;
They’re having each a well-earned rest
Until they start on their next quest

That means dear reader it is time
To now conclude this winding rhyme;
It has, I hope you will agree,
Been quite the epic odyssey.

So fond goodbyes from all the band,
Except of course, by her command,
For Tabbyshell, she’ll stay with you,
As shall the happy memories too.

Astray

A shooting star arrives this night
As dancers fill the floor;
Its luminescence pure and bright,
The type one can’t ignore.

It comes to rest upon a tree
To take a twinkling break;
Where did it land, where could it be,
Which branches should you shake?

When bathed within its golden glow,
The darkness cast away,
You stretch to reach it from below,
To snare this stellar stray.

So seize the star and take it home
Then hang it where you dine;
So that each day in coming gloam
Its radiance can shine.

Cherry Blossom Blues

When summertime comes, Sun gods reign supreme,
We cheerfully play Cherry Blossom Blues;
With sandcastle dreams, quick melting ice cream,
Our memories adrift on a palm tree cruise.

When autumn arrives, Satan comes to town,
We mournfully hum Cherry Blossom Blues;
As stranger things roam, our world’s upside down,
The devil collects long-forgotten dues.

Midwinter, midnight, Santa’s gifts arrive,
The jingles disguise Cherry Blossom Blues;
Hearth-warming inside, our fires still alive,
What’s already lost we cannot now lose.

Fleeting rhapsody, spring’s flirtatious wink,
Bittersweet and sour, bluenote days in pink.

Cubical Girl

The girl next door is quite the bitch,
Who talks behind your back;
She’s crueler than the Wicked Witch
She’s mastered talking smack.

Her tattletelling knows no bounds
She’s liberal with the truth;
Her baseless gossip, lacking grounds
Appears to ears uncouth.

She thinks that she’s impervious,
That’s she’s above it all;
That she can whinge and cause a fuss
Behind her teflon wall.

But some day soon she’ll get caught out,
Her downfall, all those lies;
The tears she’ll shed, the cries she’ll shout,
That’s karma, bitch – surprise!

2 / 1 / 2

Like birds of a feather,
Two voices together
In harmony, rhythm and time;
A synchronised dance,
Reflective romance,
Transcending description, sublime.

Then like summer it’s gone,
A migration of one,
I keep singing for two but alone;
The melody breaking,
A dark undertaking,
The final beat one constant tone.

But sing on I do,
My voice pure and true,
‘Til our harmonies echo again;
Rejoining you’re glorious,
Majestic, imperious,
I’m counting my heartbeats ’til then.

Monster’s Ball

When the nights draw in and the clouds unpour,
When the blood-red leaves mark advancing Fall,
When the threat of winter bangs at our door,
It’s time once again for the Monster’s Ball.

All the usual suspects have come this night:
The undead, the quick and the corpsified;
There’s Count Dracula, flown in for a bite;
Doctor Frankenstein’s brought his creature’s bride.

On the dance floor zombies are shuffling slow
While the werewolves howl to the strobing beats;
Lord Cthulhu limbos the bar down low
As the Donald lies and again he cheats.

It’s a Monster’s Ball on All Hallow’s Eve;
Time to trick or treat, time to make believe.