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by Stefan Schutte

We were stuck in the burning belly of an ancient ship’s hold,
Our bloodied bodies surrounded by stacks of shimmering gold.
Above us, waving from the top of a creaking mast,
Torn Jolly Roger that the Captain sailed under last,
Drowning the sinking treasure for which our souls had been sold.

Below us, the flag descends to the bottom of the ocean’s depths,
Swallowing the loot we’d chased to earth’s length and breadth.
We had reached the end of the ancient trail,
A journey mapped out in a Panamanian jail,
Revealing the cursed treasure that claimed many untimely deaths.

Across the ocean’s treacherous waters to Europe, we sailed
To the Captain’s Scottish grave, but still no treasure unveiled.
A Spanish doubloon pointed south to King’s Bay next.
Off the coast of Madagascar, read the deciphered text.
New hope for our mission - just when we’d thought we’d failed!

For those proven worthy, paradise beckoned in all its glory
The ruins of Libertalia, the lost pirate colony’s untold story
Adorned throughout with the sigils of its twelve founders
Scattered about: flintlock pistols and thirty-two-pounders,
Powder flasks, rusty cutlasses all mainstay pirate inventory.

Gunmen and mercenaries we fought and killed from pillar to post.
Under smoggy sky thundered the laugh of Captain Avery’s ghost.
He had rigged his ship should fortune-seekers appear:
Gunpowder-charged bombs and a spring-loaded spear.
Buried by water and rocks, the ship vanished off the African coast

Empty-handed we’re sailing homeward with nothing to show.
In the breaking morning light, we spot a dim, flickering glow,
A towering beacon calling us home to familiar shores.
In our wake: pirate skeletons claimed by ancient wars
But, in our hands, nothing: no treasure. We had to let it all go.

Copyright © 2019 by Stefan Schutte

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