Thursday, September 16, 2021

A Sea Shanty, by J.C. Kavanagh


The Twisted Climb – Darkness Descends 

Book 2 of the award-winning Twisted Climb series

I've just returned from a month in Georgian Bay, Canada, sailing its beautiful shores and anchoring in the most beautiful and pristine bays. So it's only natural that my creative writing turned to composing a sea shanty, which, by definition, is a work-song sung by laborers on a sailing vessel. This shanty, however, is not a reflection of my time on the water. Oh no. The only thing that is true in this sea shanty is the name of our boat, Escape Route.

A Sea Shanty
by J.C. Kavanagh
There once was a boat named Escape Route
She was manned by a captain who often would toot
His horn, of course, was the tooter in tow
On the rough and foggy seas, he would blow and blow.
One day a dear woman he happened upon
She was stately and curvy and ne’er did frown
Her skin was like bronze and her hair fell a’plenty
O’er her shoulders and chest, right down to her belly.
It was love at first sight and he just had to have her
He practiced and practiced his seagoing swagger.
On a starry night with the moon hanging bright
He stood before her and expressed his delight.
“You are what I need, what I want and desire
Your very face lights my heart like a fire.
Will you be mine, for now and forever
For I will be yours till the seas dry – and that’s never.”
He waited and waited for her response
When a deep voice growled from the shadows ensconced
Behind his true love, a figure emerged
A sword in one hand and a dagger in the other.
“She is mine, all mine, you seagoing cock
Go blather and dither at some other dock
My ship and my lady
Forever will be
Carved in my bow and my heart o’er the sea.
This wooden delight that makes you swoon and croon
Is my sea angel guarding me all day and all night.
So off with you now, besotted scum that you be
And leave me and my lady
To live o’er the sea.”
The love-struck sailor turned away from his love
As her wooden eyes seemed to glow from above
He paused and twisted for one more look
His heart swelled with sadness – his true love captive by a pirate, a crook.
And then the pirate threw his dagger and the smitten sailor dropped to one knee
As he descended into darkness, his final thoughts came to be
“Ne’er more shall I kneel
By the bow while I bleed.”
The pirate turned away, murder accomplished
When the heavens opened suddenly with rain and thunder
The deluge became a flood and the ship took on water.
“Oh ye gods above!” the pirate shouted and clamored
“What did I do to deserve such a fate?”
And then with dagger pointed at his wooden angel so dear
The lightning exploded into the pirate and they became one white smear
They danced and they jerked until the pirate was no more
And the carved beauty shed a tear as she sank to the sea floor.
They say the smitten sailor
Can be heard in a storm
Blowing his horn
For his love lost, so forlorn.

Above are three types of figureheads, each restored from an old ship.

Stay safe everyone!

J.C. Kavanagh, author of 
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2)
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @authorjckavanagh


  1. Replies
    1. Ah yes. Much better than the love-smitten sailor!

  2. These verses made me want to sing the tune. I could picture the sailors singing it while hoisting the sails.

  3. Oh I love that! Thanks for 'singing' my sea shanty with me :)


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