News- Links - Poems.

I have written three books about local shipwreck sites I have discovered at Scilly.

The Pirate John Mucknell and the hunt for the wreck of the John.

Wreck of colossus. The find of a lifetime.

Ghosts of Rosevear and the wreck of the Nancy Packet.

Here are just some of the news paper articles I have featured in over the years. Its quite a collection!

The John

The Nancy Packet

The Wheels Wreck

Project Lyoness

Samson Buildings

The John

Flying Joan/Lizzy project

The Crooked Pin
Todd Stevens

Struck hard on Scilly’s dreadful rocks,
-a ship unseen; her name unknown,
And her Captain wept as all were drowned,
-a mere fifty leagues from home.

Through many a fathom the once grand ship
 -wreck’d –plummeted like a stone;
The cargo spoiled; a treasure lost,
-but all’s fair by Davy Jones.

Entombed within the icy brine,
-held fast, the ship enslaved.
Lone pennon aloft her fighting top,
-appearing limp betwixt the waves.

Below perceive a dismal sight,
-mans wealth and power cast aside,
-as nature wreaks her swift destruction,
-to wither, all, lifeless in the tide.

Figurehead that late caressed by curling drift,
-a proud maid once o’er the sea,
-now silently slumbers in the deep,
-her beauty sapped by worm with ease.

And relentless under that harsh attack,
-all timber’s withered; holed; made thin,
-the bowsprit bows and masts come down,
-her stern windows all cave in.

Her keel doth break; her hull doth split;
-her rudder tumbles just close by,
and her weighty guns cause the decks to wane,
-as muzzles turn towards the sky.

Then comes the day when scant remains,
-of the ship- much less its crew,
-and of families who once mourned lost men,
-their lives shall start anew.

And if the wreck is never found,
-her tale will ne’er be told,
-wives and mothers then perceiving not,
-where loved ones lost- lied stiff and cold.

Santa Warna she doth cause such strife,
-the islands mythical Syrene,
-vessels drawn on by her deathly song,
-to Scilly- deceptively serene.

Scillonians too are said to bare some guilt,
-in this legend and her foul sin,
-their wickedness born by a simple chant,
-and the price of just one crooked pin!

The Lifeboat
By Todd Stevens
A flashing rocket rushes skywards,
-then booms along the deep;
And paints the seaside town aglow,
-to wake men from their sleep.

Bleary eyed they hasten into gear
“Careful love” wives say in fright.
A kiss exchanged, small comfort brings,
-when rushing out into the night.

Ord’n’ry are the men aboard;
-huddled close upon the bridge;
A close knit band of brothers they,
-who keep fearful feelings so well hid.

Soon the Lifeboat puts to sea,
-amidst howling wind and driving rain;
-and in the all encompassing dark perceive,
- the speck ,upon the roaring main.

Waging war against a mighty foe,
Each wave’s a battle, hard fought, won;
Tho’ cause be just and honourable there,
-it won’t save each mothers son.

In the black- the stricken vessel’s found,
-with many souls to save;
-and each man to his duty’s called;
-appearing steadfast, calm and brave.

“Helmsman keep your ship abreast;
- deliver, from death, all those aboard;
the reaper on your shoulder’s perched;
-to err is his reward”

Instinctively the men perform,
-one eye transfixed upon the waves;
a loss of concentration brings
-another soul to save.

All ‘round the coast of Britain,
-such scenes are oft’ played out;
-doth raging sea and roaring hurricane place,
- mere mortal lives in doubt.

For all men in the service,
-those ashore do bow and pray;
-as every moment spent upon the sea,
-is time spent in harms way.

Oft’ as not, “shouts”, in success, conclude,
tho’ those at home can ill afford;
-to slumber soundly in their beds,
-lest Reaper earns his damned reward.

Sir Clowdisley Shovell in Command.

Anne’s fleet upon the Ocean,
-Sir Clowdisley Shovell in command.
“Press on - press on” his orders be,
-his death doth fate demand.

By dead reckoning doth find his way,
- and blindly blunders on.
“Beware”called out the sounding lead,
 ”else rocks thou come upon”.

“Press on, I say, I know my way-
- to England’s green and pleasant land”
“Heave to” called out the knotted rope,
“else there thy meet thine end”

“But I am here”
Sir Cloudisley taps his finger firmly on the chart.
“But thy confidence could kill us all”
-replied the map with heavy heart.

“Thou’ know me not” -whispered longitude,  
“so call thy men around.
Consult with them -lest thy find
the ship hath gone aground.”

“Press on, I say, there are no rocks” 
-to his men the Admiral sternly said.
“those that disagree shall dangle-
 -from ye yardarm overhead”.

“Lord preserve us” sighed one Jack tar
 with Scilly before his eyes,
“I know these waters well, my lord,
-thy home doth lie close by”

“Who doubts me there?-
-thou shall not fill this ship with thy despair,
-Raise him aloft, his feet shalt dance-
 -on naught but salt fresh air”

“Old England lies before us men,
- not Scilly, thy be assured.
Wouldst I risk the ship to cast my bones-
- and treasure upon a rocky shore?”

“Come hither then “ spoke the Gilstone,
 “fate with arrogance be joined.
All souls be damned - come garnish me-
 -in Gold and silver coin”.

The Picket Fence
Todd Stevens

Built in Quincy Massachusetts-
by Crowley; Crowninshield.
The Thomas W Lawson was-
 -the biggest Schooner in her field.

A ship four hundred feet in length-
and fifty broad all told.
Two and a half million gallons-
- storage capacity in her hold.

Seven masts that pierced the sky above-
-were named of days of all the week,
-carrying canvas weighing twenty tons,
-and forty thousand full square feet.

Eleven thousand tons displaced
-her hull was tall and sound.
But five thousand tons of rivet steel
-was soon to go aground.

Anchors weighing five tons each
-for the biggest schooner off the blocks.
Tho’ eighty five pounds per link- her chains
- could not keep her from the rocks.

Anchored among the Scilly Isles
- her cable breaks amidst a gale,
With only one great anchor still attached
-and this alas -was also soon to fail.

Dragging through an angry sea,
-the ship moves from the west,
and a hundred thousand rivets
- are soon put through a greater test.

An over confident Captain Dow
- had turned the rescue gigs away.
But now heading towards the Ranney Rocks,
-he wished he’d bid them stay.

Much to big to manoeuvre in time
- Dow knew his ship was lost,
-even if the donkey steam engines
- could set her sails aloft.

In dark of night the Lawson struck
- the rocks off Annet Isle.
She split and sank- and went to pieces
- and the wreckage stretched for miles.
Morning brought a woeful sight
- the Slippen gig first to the scene.
Only Captain Dow, and one other saved
- amidst a sea thick with kerosene.

Old Diver at the Bar
Todd Stevens

Drunk old timer mumbles,
-of when he heard the tales go round,
-of where Association, Hollandia
-and Colossus booty could be found.

And he sailed away to Scilly,
- with his copper hat and pump
-to tread amidst the Western Rocks
-with leaden boots that heavy laden clump.

Searching for those shipwrecks rich,
- he left, Penzance, his family home,
-to seek plate, dubloon and bullion;
-and fine Grecian painted Clome.

Then telling of the years of toil ,
-moving rocks and sand aside,
-and how he scavenged o’er the bottom,
-in a full, fifty fathom, tide.

He spoke of salvaged guns and anchors
that oft’ raised eyebrows on the quay!
-and revealed discoveries of great value,
-that still cause public curiosity.
This was, of course, all in his youth
when foolish young and brave   
when mortality ne'er clouded daily thought 
until, one time, nearing his grave!
Now old his, pressure bent, joints do creak
and seemingly ache this time of day.
So too his hearing's shot to bits,
as oft repeats- “what did you say?”

Punch drunk, his now damaged brain cells
-cause his tales to mist and fade,
 and he wastes his many, jumbled, glories past
on a disinterested, hag, barmaid.

A Local Tale
Todd Stevens

Lovers part upon St Mary’s quay,
-the Pilot kissed full lips of red.
“I’ll return, fair maid, amidst Autumn leaves,
-keep a weather eye for me” he said.

On deck he waved her fond farewell,
-as his ship put out to sea,
“Oh Lord “she called “bring a safe return,
-for I’m betrothed to thee”

Long the Summer days that passed,
- she walked the shores with empty hand,
-and with no strong voice to comfort her,
-‘t’was more than she could stand.

With Falling leaves upon the ground
-each sun went down without a sign
-and the distant ships descried sailed on
- she cursed for passing by.

Flowers picked amid winters chill,
-  her tears concealed by long brown hair,
-and each soft petal tiny droplets touched
-withered with sighs born of despair.

News came afore the crop was in,
-the Pilots ship had ne’er made land,
-But struck upon the seven stones
-and sank with every hand.

Each time Autumnal leaves did fall,
- she sallied forth upon the Quay,
-and whispered o’er St Mary’s Roads,
-“Oh Pilot, love, how I miss thee”

Typical is the tale I tell,
-late of many an island clan
Such is the life of Scillonian’s past,
-the sea’s claimed many a local man. 

Scilly’s beauty never wanes
-and labelled “paradise” by some
But weep ye island mother, wife and lover,
-when your men folk ne’er come home.

When stood upon Scilly’s broken shore
-curse not the fog, nor mist,
-but listen out for loved ones lost,
-their voices carry o’er the drift.

The Colossus
Todd Stevens

Colossus was a warship;
-alacrity her boast,
-and she sailed with Admirals colours raised
- t’ blockade the Spanish coast.

The inshore squadron was her duty,
-the swift and sure with this were graced,
-beside Orion, Theseus and Bellerophon,
-Colossus took her pride of place.

In action at the Ile de Groix,
- her guns roared the short divide,
-and playing heartily aloft,
her piper’s rally filled the sky.

Amidst the fray where yard arms clashed,
-and men fought eye to eye,
-with guns run out and flames unleashed,
-they let the iron fly.

When Aboukir was over
- and escort duty was the task,
-she was loaded beneath Vesuvius,
-with Greek antiquities from the past.

A course set for dear old England,
-and men climbed among the shrouds,
where billowing the sails aloft,
-they strive to emulate the clouds.

She beat her way across Biscay,
and the stormy channel home,
-better days the grand ol’ ship had seen,
- Oaken walls a- creakin in the foam.

If she’d not met with disastrous end,
-by Southard Well upon rollin’ maine,
-repaired at dear old blighty,
-they would’ve set her sails again.

Her demise was more romantic,
-her name in history was etched,
- she and her cargo to the bottom went
-and became a total wreck.

Tho’ think of her as she once was,
- stretched afore a rushing blast,
-with pennon flapping high aloft,
and many men before the mast.

Percieve Roman God Apollo,
-with outstretched arm upon her bow;
victorious the crown held in his hand,
-tho’ he’s gone, forever, now.

The Wheels Wreck
Todd Stevens

As Cornish culture swept the globe;
-we followed kith and kin abroad.
Our mining gear stowed in the hold;
-our wives and loved ones all aboard.

We left our friends; our homes; our jobs;
- Ancestors in the soil.
And sailed away from fair Mounts Bay;
-abroad, for coal and tin, we’ll toil.

‘T’was fine with Cornwall just astern
-and we made the open sea;
-but south of Scilly arose the storm
-that gripped us merc’lessly.

For days we rode the hurricane;
-‘til sails and yards were swept away;
-with rudder shipped and sheets all torn;
-helpless, we drift, in disarray.

Derelict and tossed upon the foam,
-‘til Scilly loomed in dark of night;
-where in greater violence do breakers roll,
- to turn our saviour into plight.

On prevailing tide we drifted close;
-tho’ storm obscured our pleas from view;
- doth shutter rattle; and fire crackle;
- doth howling gale keep curtains drew.

In Crow we shipped an angry sea
-and the water swept in fast.
We climbed aloft as best we may
but the tempest claimed our mast.

By Little Ganinick Island,
-our brig foundered close at hand.
-‘tho’ none perceived our fight for life;
-occurring juxtapose that land.

Down; down; down we went;
-to the bottom of the sound;
-where aside our shattered broken hulk,
-forsaken, we did drown.

All hands and passengers perished here;
-no soul was left to grieve.
One hundred and fifty years shall pass
-‘afore, diver, our grave perceive.

The Bloody Buccaneer
Todd Stevens

Outcast; Outlaw; Cutthroat;, Pirate;
-the words strike hate and dread and fear.
They live a life of wreck and plunder,
-“Avast the bloody Buccaneer”

Cast your eyes upon the Ocean,
-o’er the Horizon a ship draws near,
-it comes to sack your town this night
-and brings the bloody Buccaneer.

Bowers drop in the bay at ,
-a ghostly vessel doth appear.
In the dark unfurls the Jolly Roger;
-pennant of the Buccaneer.

In silence then the boats are launched,
-in whispers to the beach they steer.
With stealth intruders row ashore,
-to land the bloody buccaneer.

Footsteps tread across the shingle,
-armed with Cutlass, Knife and Spear.
Flaming torches lit they walk the streets,
-a murderous band of Buccaneers.

Throats are slit while you slumber,
-and homes burned to the ground I fear.
Their pistols crack the night like thunder
-“Avast them bloody Buccaneers”

                      Daylight dawns and the Red coats gather,
-too late to save the town austere,
-its been fairly torn asunder,
-by the bloody buccaneers.

Along with Plundered Cob and Golden Ducat,
they took your women and drank your beer.
Were they lead by Captain Mucknell,
Scilly’s own bloody Buccaneer.

Fable of Pipers Hole
Todd Stevens

Did William Edgecumb for his King,
-a Castle once Defend;
and superior puritan force appose,
-when with Culverins did descend.

Thundered the guns on Trescaw top;
Clashing swords were drenched in blood;
And in retreat, black powder lit,
- Ruined Bastian where it stood.

Amidst smoke and falling masonry,
Will‘ took flight to Pipers Hole;
And in the dark and damp- laid low,
-as Round Heads sought his soul.

Day on day- did pass Will‘ by;
- unending was his strife;
Whether starved in cave- or hangman’s rope,
-the lad feared for his life.

Wretched was this young mans plight,
-as hunger wrenched his gut
for limpet and bitter seaweed’s ate
-with eyes clenched tightly shut.

Then one calm morn a maid came forth
-and found him foraging o’er the rock;
-unafraid was she and spoke aloud,
-tho’ William froze in shock.

“Milldred, of Colonel Fleetwood spawn;
tho’ call me Milly- if you please”
-and did fugitive know, that from thence forth
-he could be at his ease.

She smuggled William proper food;
and fresh dry cloths to wear.
In Pipers Hole, by candles glow,
-warm feelings thrived betwixt the pair.

Then came the day misgivings ’rose,
-o’er Milly’s interest by the hole;
and perceiving did prepare escape
-for her lover- a boat she stole.
 “Flee my love, for there’s no time,
-as Round Heads this way come.”
Then with heart felt kisses fondly met,
-did parting lovers feel as one.

“Fear not,” bode he, “I shall return.”
-then Muskets cracked about his ears;
-he fled in haste, that troubled isle,
-and left maid in floods of tears.

Years in exile passed Will’ by,
-‘til King Charles reclaimed the throne;
and Milly Fleetwood kept virtues chaste,
-for lost love returning home.

The Nancy Packet
Todd Stevens

Beautiful the actress travelling home,
-from India‘s golden coast,
with face as fair as her voice was sweet,
-as any nightingale could boast.

And by her side her infant slept;
- life the Captains loins had given,
-tho’ the family scene looked so serene,
-this night would stand as un-forgiven.

A tempest in the channel swirled,
- testing frailty of the crew,
- black the night that hid the rocks,
-that came late into view.

“Ware ship! Ware ship! -Helm hard a port”
- yelled Haldane with eyes agate,
-tho’ the “child of misfortune” called
-his orders came too late.

Scilly’s rocks had claimed another ship,
-the Nancy packet cast away,
-and tho’ fleeing in the jolly boat,
-ne’er one would see the light of day.

One calm morn, the scene was thus,
-the ship found broken; weed entwined,
-her hull collapsed; her decks uptorn;
-and sails billowing in the brine.

Perceive ashore the upturned boat,
-beneath which no sadder sight,
-the mother’s arms still wrapped the child,
-a maternal clasp borne from the plight.

Lifeless the eyes; face blue and cold;
-for this the sea despise,
-as both were found still dressed in lace
-the softest silken white chemise.

In shallow earth on Rosevear top,
- in un-consecrated ground,
-interred together side by side,
-but no peace there shall be found.

For on that isle men come to toil,
-and buildings soon will stand,
and thy bones will move from place to place
ne’er to settle in that land.

How come thee to this dreadful end,
-thy song charmed many an ear,
they moved your corpse to Old Town Church
- still your tears fall on Rosevear.

Lullaby of Rosevear.
Todd Stevens

Look not beyond these arms my child,
-fear not the waves so high.
Mother will keep you safe from harm,
-and the tempest wild awry.

Cradling thy head against my breast,
-perceive not the deathly crack,
-of timbers of the ships great hull,
-upon the Gilstone stack.

Stir not upon the Captains calls,
-the crew his tasks perform.
Keep your eyes to me my boy,
-not o’er the waters foam.

A lullaby for you to hear,
-a soothing tune- to calm us both.
Tho’ the water’s cold around my feet,
-still this song belies the truth.

Bundled in a coverlet,
-for there’s no time to dress,
- convey you safely to the jolly boat,
-to flee the sea’s ingress.

This song I sing my baby boy,
- disguises horrors all around,
-the death; the pain; the reapers call;
-the breaking ship upon the ground.

Ever louder I hum to thee my dear
-as our boat to shore doth go,
-through maelstrom; eddy and whirlpool,
-to risk a violent surf and undertow.

Pressed close against my bosom child,
-you’ll not be yielded from my grasp.
Tho’ land appears so close at hand,
-still I fear we’ve breathed our last.

A lullaby- the last we’ll know,
-of this life; this love; this Earth;
-for our boat it doth turn over love,
-to entomb us in the surf.

So close Rosevear our saving grace,
-yet our grave it will become,
-interred among the mallow shrubs
-with -Haldane- Gleneagle’s son.

Lonely Island on the western front,
-deserving of a tome,
-thy shores be haunted with my song,
-from now- ‘til kingdom come.

The Ballard of Ann Batten
Todd Stevens

Betwixt stone wall and bracken down,
-moved a maid in blue so fair;
-her trusses concealed beneath a cowl,
-unearthly feelings cool the air.

Sweeping down the sloping path,
-with effortless floating grace,
-tho’ within a moments flickering eye,
-she disappears without a trace.

Melancholy, nay wretched, is the tale,
-mysterious maid on Garrison shore;
-a broken heart; a virtue lost;
-untimely death settles the score.

In Star Castles damp and dusky loft,
-a babe had failed to come to life,
-and still born lay the tiny corpse,
- of heartache, tears and strife.

Pale cadaver placed inside a box,
-‘twas pushed, with guilt, beneath the bed,
- mixed emotions for her child now cold,
-turned strangely numb towards the dead.

For ‘twas conceived by force of will,
-as true love sailed o’er the sea;
-tho’ illegitimate birth, greeting his return,
-compound a tale- of virtues given free.

“My beloved will ne’er want me now”
-she could not help but fear the worst,
- then summonsed by the ruling twelve,
-the girl perceived her luck accursed.

Then charged with an unlawful death;
- Unbearable was her strife,
-so o’er the rocks of Garrison shore,
-she strived to end her troubled life.

On Steval Rock, Ann bowed her head,
-cloak billowing in the wind;
 -stepping forward ends her tale of woe,
                             -but then a haunting doth begin.

Treasure hunt.
                                             Todd Stevens    

I sought it west of Annet isle,
-and searched the Spanish Ledge.
Explored the Crim extensively,
- Just west of Zantman’s ridge.

Gilstone ledges were once draped in gold,
-Crebinicks held no clue,
-nor Isaccs ledge- the eeriest place
- I ever ventured to.

Retarrier cradles a rusting hulk,
-full of tantalising things.
Linger not by Dollar Ledge too long,
-else miss the prize I bring.

I searched a wreck at Rosevear Isle,
-beneath ledges there hard by,
-but never found Ann Cargill’s gold,
-tho’ had a damn good to try.

Round Rock is strewn with blue beads o’er
-where once a slaver had been torn.
and a Dutchmans guns lie on the sand,
-just under silver carn.

More guns cast in the flatlands,
-now lie beside the Wee,
-and either side of li’l Creb’wethan
 porcelain gleams beneath the sea.

By Menglow there lay two old wrecks,
                                        -Black rock cradles one as well.
By Innisidgen I found pirate guns,
-tho’ not the gold they stole.

George Peters Ledge hath guns nearby,
-cast away by Gunner rock,
tho’ Bartholomew holds the oldest guns
-aged by the ticking clock

A wreck was strewn from Farmers rock,
- to stride the Garden Maiden Bower.
And an old wreck lies just off the Crow,
-built of Company wealth and power.

Both Gilstones have claimed old wrecks,
-old guns lie at their feet,
and around the base of Tearing Ledge,
-an Eagle slumbers in the deep.

Time spent in the Sound of Crow,
- where in the silt-a favourite haunt,
-were the wooden bones of two old wrecks
-tho’ ne’er the one I sought.

Hanjague held nothing new in store,
-nor the rocks around Dry Splat,
-but drifting off old Southard Wells,
- I found a gunship half intact.

Eventually, by Lady luck,
- whilst upon that well known ground,
- under Lord Nelson’s shadow,
-is where my treasure could be found.

It had taken many dives to seek it out,
-but when I spied it there,
- I could not carry it off with me,
-so left it dans le mer.

Colossus lost treasures retrieved.
Todd Stevens

Ancient sailors of Greece harboured respect,
-for Poseidon great God of the sea,
-who with trident aloft could summon the Ocean,
-to bend to his will and his need.

His kingdom was a vast -two thirds of the world,
-where he ruled in the depths all alone,
-with mermaids as disciples and council at court,
-to tend to his undersea throne.

Fine wares they were stolen from his people above,
-on Man‘o’War Colossus that sailed,
 -so he followed below and bided his time,
-‘til his anger from the abyss could prevail.

From Naples to Lisbon two seas had been crossed,
-guarding the convoy that she had in tow.
Colossus crank ship was battered and weary
-tho’ still had a long way to go.

The ship ran for Scilly to escape the wrath of the Gods,
-from who’s tempest there was no place to hide,
-but evasion was futile and retribution swift,
-as Poseidon closed in on the tide.

Under her forefoot the divinity pushed the great ship,
-in the direction of old Southward Well.
The cable then parted and the bower it dragged,
-through an anchorage of sand and of shell.

Over 800 souls climbed aloft in the rigging;
-as Santa Warna now joined in the fray.
Murray knew all was lost by the lee shore of Samson,
-but made sure all the men got away.

In a foaming white sea and bumping on rock,
-she healed over and soon broke her back,
Her guns all fell through and the ballast came down,
-crushing antique vases under the stack.

An ancient world it had judged upon the Colossus,
-for taking its treasures away,
-using the granite of Samson to smash the ship to a pulp,
-and to an elderly Ambassador’s dismay.

Sir William’s hopes and collection were gambled that day,
-tho’ both were dashed under the guns.
The ship it was Nelson’s and now so was Bill’s wife,
-leaving Hamilton without companion nor funds.

Battered by sea and eaten by worms,
-crabs and lobsters now walked on her deck,
-and salvage men came to fish up all they could,
-before kelp scaffs closed over the wreck.

Time it moved on and mans progress was slow,
-in conquering the undersea land,
-and Colossus was left to old father time,
-who covered her with rocks and with sand.

As centuries pass and the wreck was forgotten,
-or so deity Poseidon believed,
-but now divers step in where mermaids once swam,
-to see the Colossus lost treasures retrieved.

Legend of Santa Warna

By Todd Stevens

When Scilly fell on desperate times-
the Turks of Agnes bent to crime;
And called thy God for help and love-
tho’ none, -it seems,- would come in time.

Frustrated- looked towards the sea,
-as for a wreck did lust,
-for cargo rich with food and wine
For this, thy souls, Turks offered thus.

Instead a witch, in coracle round,
-sailed from the emerald shore;
With mystic guile and promising forth-
“Ye Turks should want no more”

“Help is at hand!” exclaimed the witch,
“with all ye dare to ask;
-thy sirens call beguiles all men
-equal thy power to the task.”

“I’ll bring thee wrecks a plenty-
-when e’er ye doth request;
-worship thy beast beside the well,
- and I shall do the rest.”

Unanimously- did Turks agree;
-meagre price- riches for pins!
-and chants made by a lowly well,
-afore offerings cast in!
The witch summonsed the tempest thus
-each time the Turks did call;
And mighty ships, on rocks, piled up,
-brought in on wind and squall.

Admirals to able seamen died;
-wives and mothers left to weep;
-as loved ones joined with Davy Jones,
-down in the cold and deep.

On plunder did the Turks gain wealth;
In darkened well did beast make home.
Echoed disciples ungodly chants-
-‘round Santa Warnas cove.

“Thrive thee not” said our Lord displeased,
“by thy ill gotten gain”
and sent a wreck forth as a test
thee turks shall learn of my distain”

Opon the deck a preacher cried-
-“Oh Turks thy souls to save”
-but wretches turned thine heads away,
-then looted o’er his grave.

In dreams, that night, the preachers ghost,
-bode ill from god on high,
“If ye Turks live by the sharpened sword
then by the sword ye’ll die!”

All was well -‘til one calm morn,
-the Turks to boat did take;
Remembering not- dead preachers words-
-“that shalt thy Lord forsake”

St Mary’s to a wedding went,
-tho’ merriment cut short;
As the vessel turned upon a wave;
-beneath which most men were caught.

Just two Turks survived the wreck;
-thy Lords anger and his wrath,
And thee returneth to the fold;
-Gods good and righteous path.

“Now” said the Lord “thy Turks go thus-
-drive witch from well and isle,
-and cast her back from whence she came;
-to Place of evil ,base and vile”.

“From hence forth- through countless wreck,
-come no unanswered plea!”
-And did no soul Turk leave to drown,
-when found on the high sea.

“Lives afore booty” had said thy God,
“self sacrifice was good”
-and bestowed the Turks a useful tool;
-stout gigs made out of wood.

The thimble made of gold
Todd Stevens.
Lone diver among the boulders,
-removed from aid or help,
-and out of touch from friends above,
-beneath a canopy of kelp.

Hunting artefacts & treasure,
-from another space in time,
-disturbing life o’er the bottom
-fathoms down within the brine,

Unearthing eagle coins and silver spoons;
-a brass porthole bent and old.
Tho’ best of all, the wreck gave up,
-a tiny thimble made of gold.

Held aloft towards the sunlight,
-the name Elsa was revealed,
“Who was this girl,” I wondered,
-“lost with Schiller’s twisted, buckled steel.”

Elsa travelled with her parents,
-dearest Edward and Clara Just.
She had played upon the steamers decks-
-‘til on Retarrier -was lost.

Huddled together on the pavilion roof,
-as foaming billows broke on deck,
the family waited in angst for rescue,
-from the Schiller- stricken wreck.

High upon the Bishop gallery,
-he viewed from distance overhead,
-feeling helpless, sad and melancholy,
-then the Lighthouse keeper said-

-“A breaker hit the steamer hard,
-so that none could then hold on.
When the water dropped away again
-the pavilion roof -had gone!”

Among those plucked from the water,
Edward and Clara, alas, were drowned.
“But what” -you cry- “of tiny Elsa”
-her pale cadaver was never found.

Interred at Old Town Church yard,
-her relations will forever be.
tho’ parable hath another way,
-for little Children lost at sea.

“An extraordinary thing happens”,
-or so legend peddlers say,
-“such Children turn to Kittiwakes,
                                -so their souls can fly away”.

The Kings Pirate
Todd Stevens

With Gold and Silver Reales aboard,
-our ship weighed anchor in the Downs;
-and we climbed aloft to set the sails;
Cockney’s all from London town.

In a fleet of forty ships we sailed;
-‘midst company men all proud and true;
-tho’ thirteen co- conspirators plot,
-to purloin the ship and crew.

Bound for Surat, sailed south, then east;
-our fine new ship weathered the storm.
Tho’ off Mozambique did dye be cast;
-as Mucknell’s plan took shape and form.

At Johanna did Mucknell seize the John;
-his opposition cast ashore;
-all stripped of wealth and valuables;
-Factor; Sailor; Governor.

Extending hand of friendship
invites opposition to a feast
tho paranoia strikes that same frail of mind
turning Mucknell into beast

Three men stood bold against him
betraying Mucknell without fear;
two were cast upon a distant shore;
the other lost an ear.

Mistrust; confusion; disarray;
-conspiracy caused such strife;
Til’ alone inside the roundhouse;
our Master strived to end his life.

The hammer fell; no spark was made;
- Mucknell took another stand;
-But the cooper rushed inside the room
-and staid the Captain’s hand.

From hence we sailed to Bristol
-tho’ there abandoned hope
-and from advancing roundhead army fled;
- scaffold and hang mans rope.

We sailed the John to Scilly;
-our forty guns command a fleet;
-and we preyed upon company shipping ‘til
-Parliament caught us in retreat.

“Come light the guns, we’ll make a stand”
Mucknell, in his cups, did call
“Princes at sea; -our glory be;
-ye cockney’s, one and all.”

We fought Ye Navy five to one
-superior force held us in check,
-and raked us squarely ‘cross our bows,
-port side and quarter deck.

With many round shot in her hull;
-we drove our ship ashore;
And tried to patch her broken bones
But she would float no more.

Homeless; dispersed; and on the run,
-we fled the Company court;
-but slowly, inevitably, one by one,
- God doth punish evil sort.

In irons at the Marshalsea
- mercy scarce; no hope; no bail;
Tho’ Mucknell further mischief wreaked;
- Knight of the Realm doth he set sail.

Gift from the Sea
Todd Stevens

Trader from a far away shore
Venetian? Turk? or Dutch?
What’s known of you is little,
-what’s now left -not very much.

Afore the wind you travelled thus;
-men strived to keep you true,
-tho’ bound thee for the Scilly isles,
-a tale known only to your crew.

Was your course for England set?
-or some other foreign coast?
-did clouds obscure the sun and stars?
-just when it mattered most.

How come you to St Agnes isle?
-on whose rocks you split your side,
-to scatter all those agate beads,
-now salt washed in the tide.

Your legacy is with us still;
-your cargo named the bay,
-we now know as the beady pool,
- where people rummage summers days.

Occasionally when a bead is found,
- the mystery compounds the charm;
- few ask the haunting question,
-had thy sailors come to any harm?