The Six Young Sailors

Under the moon, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

For two long years the schooner hopped,
like a bullfrog between lilly pads,
from island to island carrying crops
‘tween Turner Cay and Trinidad.

Ne’er before had the Captain led
to bad port or dangered reef,
keeping stocked with rum and bread
keeping trips easy and brief.

But to-day, the winds had suddenly turned
and becalmed the ship in open water;
Oh! how the crews face did darken
though they still feared the Flogger.

Six young sailors gathered ’round
at night as the moon shone brightly down,
and the sail covered her face like a silken shroud
as if she wished to hide her frown.

In the dark, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

“The Captain brought us to this fate,
his methods have long been out of date.
All but his officers he most certainly hates,
the Captain has led us to this fate.”

“The Navigator is his right-hand man,
he is the one who writ this plan –
he knew the globe would stop her fan!
The Navigator is his right hand man.”

“The Quartermaster has late been rather stingy –
drinking with the nobles and acting fishy.
He wishes not for it to be breezy,
the Quartermaster has late been rather stingy.”

“The Flogger has gained from our plight,
he flogged ten people just last night!
He’s no sailor, that’s quite right.
The Flogger has gained from our plight.”

Having chose who were at fault,
the six young sailors planned revolt,
the next night they would strike
as blindly as a lightning bolt.

In the shadows, on deck they stood
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

When the moon returned and hid her eyes
behind the mast and crossing ropes,
the six young sailors called upon
all the crew who’d lost their hope.

“Come friends! Come friends!
Listen here!
The Captain has sold us all,
though for what is unclear.”

“He and the Navigator did plan the route,
He and the Quartermaster do nightly flout,
He and the Flogger with glee do clout,
The four of them all have sold us out!”

“To arms! To arms!
It is not mutiny
if they deserve all the harm
when we beat them bloody!”

The boys did cheer and praise the six
for finding the cause of their predicament,
grabbing bats and bars and guns,
a little revolution did foment.

Amidst the crowd, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

They bagged the Captain first of all
and hauled him before their fellowship,
charged him with lying through his teeth
’bout the reason for this curs-ed trip.

“Did your business pals back on land
promise, at exorbitant price, to buy
if you would take this dangerous path
though all us poor sailors die?”

“No! No!” the Captain cried,
“We’ve actually been this way before,
sometimes the sea is cruel and harsh
and strands you far, far offshore!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Captain into the sea.

Next was the Navigator, they caught him ‘midst
trying to trace the path they took
on one of the hundreds of detailed maps
in one of the hundreds of dusty books.

“How kind of you to trace
this path into motionlessness.
I’d bet the Captain paid you well
to sacrifice us to richness!”

“No! No!” the Navigator cried,
“I don’t control the weather!
I get paid exact the same
whether stopped or floating like a feather!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Navigator into the sea.

The poor Quartermaster was grabbed
while sorting through all the rations –
though the last two had been higher-up,
hoarding food stirs higher passions.

“We’ve seen you bringing all the best
of wine and rum and bread and fish
to the Captain’s quarters every day
while leaving the rest of us to famish!”

“No! No!” the Quartermaster cried,
“I’m only showing which food got wetter!
I’ve eaten the same portion as you –
and the Captain only little better!”

“Off the gangplank!” said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Quartermaster into the sea.

By now the crowd was quite unruly,
and the Flogger got the worse of it –
for each man he’d flogged for flagging,
thrice did he get whipped.

“Oh, Taskmaster! Did the Captain give
promises of name and fame
if you beat all us blind
in order to keep our class tame?”

“No! No!” the Flogger cried,
“I only do the job I’m told!
I’ve never even met the Captain!
I’ve never seen an ounce of gold!”

“Off the gangplank!’ said the sailors,
ignoring all his desperate pleas –
and with cannonball attached to foot
sank the Flogger into the sea.

“We’ve won! We’ve won!
Their dastardly plans are foiled!
For change! For progress!
For the greater good we’ve toiled!”

Carrying the smell of newer places
the winds picked up quite suddenly!
The casks of rum were broken open,
a cry was raised of victory!

“Who will be our new Captain?
Who will lead us home?
Who will be our Navigator
to guide us through the breaking foam?”

But none of the sailors really knew
what the Captain did really do;
none of the maps in the Navigators room
could give them a single clue.

All of the crew began to mutter
about how they wanted more butter,
so they took to the Quartermaster’s clutter
and on their bread put more butter.

“This can’t be allowed!
We’ll run dry!
We need a new Flogger
to protect the supply!”

But none were as strong
as the one they drowned,
and of the six young sailors
no Flogger was found.

So six younger sailors gathered round
at night as the moon shone brightly down
and the sail covered her face like a silken shroud
as if she wished to hide her frown.

In the dark, on deck they stood,
saying
“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

Six months later, by chance one day,
crashed on a reef the ship was found –
filled with corpses, starved or shot,
but a few short miles from the ground.

Scrawled on the deck, carved in the wood
was a saying:

“For change! For progress!
For the greater good!”

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