The Poetical Piratical Tale of Long John Rusty

by David Lee Cherry

Yo! Ho! And avast there! And har there, ye crusties! There be here the yarn of ye ole’ Long John Rusty’s. With tall ships a sailin’ where winds blew a gusty ’tis where one would find such the likes as John Rusty!

Ole’ John ’twas a swashbucklin’ seaworthy codger, black-hearted and flyin’ the black jollyroger. Aye! Ahoy and avast, all ye blaggards, and fear, when ere’ the dread name of John Rusty ye hear!

Sailed he a sleek sloop, aye, ’twas christened the Blunder, seekin’ treasure to pilfer and pillage and plunder. And the only times ever he came upon land was to bury his treasure ashore in the sand.

Aye, he hoarded his gold in a secretive spot on a map where to find it perchance he forgot. And his whole scurvy crew were true pirates they say, but ole’ John was the best in the worst sort of way.

And what of John Rusty’s foul traits do we know? Such a scalliwag fit fer the gallows to go. With a big surly grin on his ’ideous face, and jagged scar stitches to hold it in place.

He had a black aye, and the other ’twas blue, but the black had a patch, and so nobody knew. And his beard and his hat and his boots and his coat, were all black like the flag that he flew on his boat.

Aye, there never was ever a buccaneer bolder, with a parrot a squalkin’ atop of his shoulder. He wore seven pistols fer luck crost his chest and another fer fightin’ hid under his vest.

And a cutlass had he, ’twas as sharp as a tack, and a dagger had he fer to stab in yer back. Awash in his whiskey, he’d swagger and boast, and with unbridled fury he raided the coast.

One dawn, just at daybreak, John Rusty did spy from aloft in the crow’s nest as seagulls did cry, ’twas another flag wavin’ about in the breeze; ’twas a Naval Jack flappin’ as neat as ye please!

’twas the HMS Sissy, the pride of the realm, with brave Captain Fickle commandin’ the helm. But a mortal man never so true and so trusty could shiver the timbers of one such as Rusty.

All pirates are bluffers, and Rusty was best, so he ruffled his feathers and puffed out his chest. “I’ll maroon ye, and keel haul ye, ’tis what I’ll do. Then I’ll Shanghai ye all to be part o’ me crew!”

“I’ll shackle ye fast to a gun powder crate; and I’ll blow yer doubloons into pieces-of-eight!” “Heave to then, ye swabs, and I’ll fight ye fer pleasure! But I give ye no quarter, and give ye no treasure!”

Captain Fickle, undaunted, was quick with reply, and with cannons a blazin’ let cannon balls fly. And as each ship was boarded, each other’s ship’s crew couldn’t tell who was boarded, or who boarded who.

And then a fierce melee of violence commenced ’twixt the two boarding parties, who fought as they fenced. They fought hand to hand, and they fought fist to fist. Each man struck another, or otherwise missed.

And as John was a’fightin’ enjoyin’ the slaughter, he noticed his own ship ’twas takin’ on water. As his proud ship ’twas sinkin’ we all saw fer certain the Age of the Pirate ’twas drawin’ the curtain.

Aye, doomed were they now to the roarin’ sea waves, Ole’ John and his crew to their watery graves! Aye, there never ’fore ’twas and there never will be such a punch-lovin’, drunk an old sea dog as he.

(Return to Top)