“Pirate Poem,” Friend, Nov. 1992, 40–42
If I were a pirate, I’d be a pirate
With quite an unusual style.
Why, I’d have to be, I think to myself—
I’m quite an unusual child!
I wouldn’t sail the seven seas—
Just two, or three, or four.
I think that would be quite enough for me,
But maybe I’ll sail more.
I’d paint my ship orange—a very bright orange—
And the sails a leafy green.
And I daresay I’d not fly that scary black flag
Except on Halloween.
I really don’t care much for pirates’ parrots.
They squawk, and I’ve heard they can bite.
On my shoulder, instead, my pet hamster Fred
Would perch—an unusual sight.
I’d rescue a princess or two every day—
Or three, if there’s three on the list.
And to each I’d behave most gentlemanly—
On this my dad would insist!
I never would howl, I never would holler,
I never would hurt another.
No ship would I think to send into the drink,
Not even my older brother’s.
I’d write my very own pirate songs
And sing them out loud all the time
With nonsense words and silly sounds
And lines that never rhyme.
Quite naturally I’d be the boss,
But a boss who really cared—
No matey would have to walk the plank
Or change his underwear.
Bedtime would be whenever we want,
And bath time would be maybe never.
The one rule would be that we all must agree
That life simply couldn’t be better.
Oh, what a delight! What an uncommon sight
We’d be as we traveled the oceans
To kingdoms of wizards and eighty-foot-lizards
And chocolate-malt magic potions,
Where mermaids and otters play tag in the water
And fishes converse in Chinese,
Where it never gets cold, and no one grows old,
And it won’t hurt when you skin your knees.
And when I come back to where I first started,
My tales of adventure will wow ’em.
And if some landlubber thinks I’m full of blubber,
I’ll have lots of pictures to show him.
“You would be a pirate,” my father says,
“With quite an unusual style.”
“Of course,” I reply as he tucks me in tight,
“I’m quite an unusual child.”