Savage Henry

The Blood Curdling Tale of Savage Henry.


Take and eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth

And you’ll soon be blind and toothless, to boot

But if you’re a pirate, you’ll live by this code

In poem, in prose, in play or in ode


In a pale blue shack, perched by a creek

Lived a pirate called Henry who rarely did speak

His skin was like leather and his hair was like cotton

And inside his mouth, his teeth were all rotten

There on his neck was a permanent bruise

His arms and his hands were the home to tattoos

With rings on his fingers and a giant belt buckle

And the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ spelled out on his knuckles.

He wore an eye patch and had a leg made of wood

He grunted and cursed like a good pirate should

From each of his ears there hung gold doubloons

Each the size and the shape of the moon.


On his left shoulder, just trying to hold on

Was a one-legged parrot named Algernon.

With a patch on his eye, just like his master

Algie forever predicted disaster

They’ll never be back, we’ve been abandoned

Shrieked Algie, It’s worse than I ever imagined

Parrot, be quiet! Henry did say

The squeak of your beak is spoiling my day


For Henry simply did not need reminding

About their predicament so clear and blinding

He’d spend every day on a chair in the damp

Sitting so still he’d develop a cramp

With his one seeing eye, not giving hope

He’d stare at the sea through an old telescope

For pirates are prone to having the irrits

When stranded on land – it weighs on their spirits


It was Tuesday just past when it did come to be

The SS Kalinka left Henry and Algie

They did it on purpose, they said they’d be back

And left them to wait in a broken down shack

Captain Fantastic had sailed through the heads

Hoisting the mainsail as he turned and said

We’ve run out of milk so we’re off to the market

We’ve no time to lose, you’ll just have to park it

There on your chair. You and your bird

We’ll be back in ten minutes. You have my word!

As minutes ticked on, they turned into hours

Which turned into days and as Henry grew sour

The side of his mouth turned down to the floor

And he cussed and cursed even more than before

Even Algernon’s feathers had started to droop

When they ran out of food and resorted to gloop.


(If you’ve not heard of gloop, if the term’s unfamiliar

Then you’re lucky you’ve not had to eat it for dinner

It’s mud and it’s worms, and some shredded gum leaves

And it tastes so foul that you’d never believe

That anyone in their right mind would consume it

With a knife or a fork or even to spoon it

Is an affront to all things gastronomical

What it does to your guts nigh-on phenomenal

But enough about gloop. It’s really not relevant

It’s just that it makes you break wind like an elephant

Eyes shut as he ate – he couldn’t bear looking

Henry would dream of Italian cooking.)


Hour after hour and day after day

All Henry’s hope slowly withered away

As each minute passed, his stomach would churn

He realized Kalinka would never return

It’s apparent, dear parrot, that we are forsaken

I’ll tell you that it leaves my confidence shaken.

Here by the creek, I’m starting to pall

– I barely feel like a pirate at all.


It’s simple, said Algie, The answer is clear

You’ll just have to resume your pirate career

But instead of the ocean, you’ll be on land

Instead of a cutlass, make do with your hands

– That’s blasphemy parrot! Shrieked Henry in anguish

I’d rather give in, stay here and languish

– Come now, said Algie, And pull up your sock

You’re not being rational. I think you’re in shock


It won’t be the same, Poor Henry complained

Well of course not, you goose! The parrot explained

It’s going to be different, but you still ought to try

There’s no point holding back, no need to be shy.

There’s no point in waiting in this broken down shack

For something that just might not ever come back


The more Henry thought, the more it was clear

And it quickly gave hope to the old buccaneer

By the time I set foot in that sorry old town

I’ll be the best pirate that’s going around.

I don’t need a cutlass or ship or a cannon

I’ll be more frightening than you could imagine

– Now that’s more like it, sang out Algernon

I knew you could do it, I knew all along!


Come parrot, said Henry, Now let us prepare

To wreak havoc and mayhem and create despair

Together they trundled off down into town

With Henry’s face all scrunched up in a frown

Ready to plunder, to loot and to pillage,

Henry and Algie soon came to the village

When they got to the town, they walked down the street

There was no one around – no one to meet

But Henry kept looking, at Algie’s insistence

Until they saw someone off in the distance


On a park bench, there sat an old man

Aha! Whispered Henry. And now for my plan

He snuck up behind on his one tippy-toe

And said in a voice all gravelly and low

Ahoy there me hearty, prepare to be boarded

By the scariest pirate that was ever recorded

In history’s page or in any other

So what do you say, you vile land lubber?


The old man looked up, and slowly breathed out

And rolled his false teeth around in his mouth

Oh dear, he said. I think you’ve made an error

I’m far too bored to be cowering in terror

Poor Henry’s face was seized with surprise

As the old man looked him dead in the eyes

Just what do you think you’re trying to achieve?

I’ve seen more frightening things after I sneeze

Pausing for breath, but not for too long

The old man’s barrage continued along

And has anyone told you that you have no manners?

Your hygiene is poor and as for your grammar

It’s not so much bad as it is non existent

You really can’t blame me for being resistant


Henry was unsure of how to reply

He fiddled about with the patch on his eye

What if I threaten to feed you to sharks?

– There aren’t any sharks! We’re here in a park!

– Or tell you that you have to go walk the plank?

When the old man just laughed, Henry’s heart sank

If none of these things can fill you with fear

Forgive me for asking, but why are you here?


– You’ll understand one day when you’re older

He answered, his hand on Henry’s right shoulder

I’ve spent every day of my life in this town

From sun coming up to sun going down

I wonder how happy this old man would be

If only I’d spent my life out to sea

Over the water and to the horizon

Each brand new day would bring a surprise and

I get a feeling, much more than a notion

That I could be happy just sailing the ocean


And with that poor Henry was quite overcome

Before he knew it, he’d started to run

And from his eyes there poured floods of tears

The words of the old man still caught in his ears

As Algernon squeaked, Henry slow down!

Henry dramatically fell to the ground

This just won’t work – it’s not meant to be

Somehow I’ve got to get back to the sea


I’ll build my own boat, there’s nothing else for it

I’ll hammer and bend, I’ll snap and I’ll saw it.

He started by busting the shack into bits

He didn’t have tools so he just used his mitts

He worked up a lathery sweat that was sizeable

Until the fruit of his labour became recognisable

Algie asked How do you know it will float?

Henry said, Algie, it’s not the first boat

That I have constructed from raw materials

I’m relying on science, not something ethereal.

And when it was built, Henry stood proudly

What a fantastic boat the pirate said loudly

To think of the trouble that I had to wrestle

Time I should have been building this vessel


They waited all day and they waited all night

Until the tides and conditions were right

Then on Tuesday morning, August the second,

Henry decided that destiny beckoned

He hauled up the anchor and raised up the sail

As Algie stood perched near the mast on a nail

He sang a sea shanty as they departed

That was way out of tune even before they had started

Into the creek and down to the river

The wind cold enough that timber would shiver

It’s safe to say Henry felt quite terrific

The moment his boat finally reached the Pacific

I tell you Algie, I never felt finer

I’m prouder of this boat than an ocean liner


The parrot responded, While you’re tickled pink

You’ve failed to notice we’re starting to sink.

Henry looked down, his thoughts in a tangle

Saw water rush in and lap at his ankles

Algie be quick and man the life craft!

Said Henry before he quickly felt daft

For they’d not prepared for an emergency

But now they were feeling incredible urgency

To rescue themselves from disaster before

They both came to grief down on the sea floor

Algie then squawked and started to fly

Don’t worry Henry! I won’t let you die

I’m off to find help and to raise the alarm

Whatever you do, just try and stay calm

And with that all said, Algie departed

Leaving old Henry quite broken hearted


The ocean then started to swallow the boat

And water lapped up around poor Henry’s throat

I’m done for, said Henry. From my feet to my knocker

It looks like I’m headed for Davy Jones’ locker

As Henry gave up and breathed his last gasp

A dolphin delivered him out of harm’s clasp

As he shuffled away from the coil so mortal

Henry was saved by a good dolphin’s dorsal

A fin that took hold of him under his arm

And dragged him up to the surface so calm

That was a close one, the dolphin then said

A few moments more and you’d surely be dead

Henry then coughed and said, You’re so clever!

What’s your name? The dolphin said, Trevor


Trevor took Henry to an island nearby

And before he left, he waved a goodbye

Farewell and good luck, Clever Trevor had cried

As he disappeared with the turn of the tide

Henry waved back as he sat on the sand

Before he collapsed with his head in his hands.


On a small little island no more than a grotto

Henry ate gloop but dreamed of risotto

He wondered each day how he’d come to be

Stuck on an atoll surrounded by sea

Then early one morning, he had an idea

I should reconsider my choice of career

Henry shouted, now very excited

Being a pirate has meant I’ve been blighted

Picked on, ignored and generally hated

I just can’t believe all the time that I’ve wasted!

From this day forth, whatever I do

Will be well intended, courageous and true

And if that should mean that my pirating days

Are now all behind me, then I will say

I’m only glad that it wasn’t too late

For me to choose love, rather than hate


And just as his lips finished speaking the words

He heard the sound of a one legged bird

Leading a ship, straight to his beach

As the SS Kalinka came to rest with screech

Henry! cried Algie, as he fluttered down

I hope you don’t mind that we ran aground

Here on your island, me and the crew

But I found the ship and we’ve come get you


Captain Fantastic appeared in state

Hello Savage Henry! I’m sorry we’re late

The traffic was awful and we took a wrong turn

I misplaced my compass and got so concerned

That you might be thinking that you were rejected

Left by a creek in a shack and dejected

But Algie here found us and lead us right to you

For no one means more to us than you do


Henry smiled, catching tears in his eye

It took him a while to compose a reply

I’ll rejoin the ship but I’m no buccaneer

I think it’s time for a change of career

Captain Fantastic was betwixt and between

Henry! He said What on earth do you mean?

– I mean that it’s time that we made people happy

From elderly right down to babies in nappies

I get a feeling much more than a notion

We’d make people happy right here on the ocean


Just for a moment, there was such a silence

(Which, I must say, is quite rare for pirates)

Then it’s agreed, said Captain Fantastic

Stretching the moment out like old elastic

From this moment on, we’ll only do good

Be kind and polite like a good pirate should

We’ll sail the seas in search of adventures

Whilst funding ourselves selling second hand dentures

Henry said, Wait, and hear my proposition

Why don’t we decide to make it our mission

To take tourists out and sail them around

Before taking them back and setting them down?

So any one can know a life on the sea

And still make it home in time for their tea


From that day on, the Kalinka kept sailing

With hoards of tourists all gripping the railing

And the very first person to travel abroad

Was the old man who claimed he was bored

The old man and Henry both stood and the helm

As Henry recorded the whole thing on film

Manning the camera and making a movie

The old man cried out This means so much to me!

A smile on his face, his arms stretched out wide

Henry watched on and felt nothing but pride

He often took pictures of their many guests

Everyone thought it was what he did best

To think that his talent might have gone undiscovered

Had he not been abandoned and had he not recovered

And taken a chance, been brave and daring

Together with Algie, an unlikely pairing


They sailed and sailed in perpetual motion

Spending their days rolling over the ocean

Whatever the weather and whatever the climate

People loved Henry, the video pirate.





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