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"The Rime of the Ancient Marinator"
By Okk Orthrakai

it is an ancient marinator
and he stoppeth one of three
'by thy long grey beard and glittering eye
wherefore stoppeth thou me?'

said he, 'I must not tarry
for already I am late
Tokugawa has a "party"
and it started right at eight!'

'I hear that Rhina shall be there
I know not what she'll do
but Toku's paying her lots of money
thou thinks as I do too!'

he holds him with his slimy hand
'there was a ship!' quoth he
'unhand me, blue-aura'd baboon!'
eftsoons his hand dropt he

he holds him with his glittering eye
to the winds his will was tossed
overpowered by the smell of fish
and teriyaki sauce

the young adventurer stood still
he cannot choose but hear
the old man's song while the party went on
and the music and the beer

the Southern Horn we did clear
how merrily we did drop!
below the kirk, below the hill
below the light-house top

good winds were nigh, the sun was high
more so every day
we sailed the crystal waters
outside of Safehaven Bay

teriyaki sauce we did have to take
north to Midgaard town
ten thousand bottles of the lovely stuff
of seeds and blackened brown

then came the mist and snow
and it grew a wondrous cold
and ice, mast-high, came floating by,
as green as emerald

the ice was here; the ice was there
the ice was all around!
it cracked and roared, like shield and sword
or an ogre's angry growl

at length did come a white hawk
through the fog it came
like an angel of light it pierced the night
we hailed it in Tynian's name

it ate the food it ne'er had eat
and round and round it flew
the ice did split with a thunder-fit;
the helmsman steered us through!

a warm south wind played on my hair
the white hawk did follow
and every day, for food or play,
came to the marinator's hollo!

in mist or cloud, on mast or shroud
it perched for vespers nine;
whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white
glimmered the white moon-shine

'implementors save thee, ancient marinator!
from the spirits that plague thee thus--
why look'st thou so? -- with my cross-bow
I shot the white hawk

the warm breeze did lift; the ship did drift
from us the Spirit's eyes turned
the Red Moon rose into the sky
the hot sun scorched and burned

now I had done an evil thing
to kill the happy hawk
and that's the last darned bloody time
I act to piss off Okk!

our throats were dried; our stomachs cried
o did we have a time!
our bread did turn to worms on rice
our water to green slime

what evil looks my shipmates gave
at orders they did balk
they blamed the whole sad thing on me
on my neck they hung the hawk

but lo! a speck it did appear
upon the grey sky-line
a black sail peered above the waters
a ship--just in time

but what--is that the jolly roger
that flies upon its mast?
as it drew near I shivered in fear
and behind a cold wind blast

and straight the sun was flecked with bars
(Torchbearer's mother send us grace!)
as if through a dungeon grate he peered
with broad and burning face

alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
how fast she nears and steers!
are those HER sails that glance in the sun
like restless gossameres?

"It was on sale," said Okk.

Are those HER ribs through which the sun
did peer, as if a grate?
and is that ogre all his crew?
is that a DEATH? and are there two?
is DEATH that ogre's mate?

"Her name is Harmony," said Okk,
"and she's my niece, you sicko."

The two were playing an evil gamble of death--

"Actually, it's called 'Go Fish'," said Okk.

The two were playing a desperate game
for the lives of my sailor-men
like fish they gambled them away
my dear old sailor-men

"Whatever," said Okk.

one by one as they dealt their cards
my sailor-men dropt dead--

"It was probably just food poisoning," said Okk.

...one by one as they dealt their cards
my sailor-men dropt dead
then I did hear their dreadful game
and this is what they said:

"I won, I won!"
"No, you didn't!"
"I did so!"
"No, you cheated!"
"I didn't cheat, my momma never taught me how to cheat!"
"Well, then how do you have four aces, when I already have five?"
"Maybe the cards weren't shuffled up enough."
"Uh-huh."
...

"You ate the dice again!"
"No I didn't!
"I'm telling on you!"
"Shut up, here's some pie--"
"Mmmph."

the dead men all around me stared
for many days and nights
how dreadful was their glassy stare
all around in sight!

"You can tell this guy is something of a wimp," said Okk.

then the waters rose and danced like fire
in red and black and blue
the wind whistled and played around me
lovely spirits flew in view

they tickled my nose; they touched my heart
washed of sin, my soul was free
the white hawk fell off, and sank
like lead into the sea

I walked about my lonely ship
where bodies did abound
then suddenly a finger twitched
and I fell down in a swound!

"Definately a blue," said Okk.

they stirred, they groaned, they all uprose
nor spake, nor moved their eyes
it had been strange, even in a dream
to see those dead men rise

"See? It was all a practical joke...would I really have killed anybody?"
said Okk.
"You kill me all the time!" said Whitehawk.
"You stay out of this."
"But, but--"
"You want me to mute you? Okay, I'll--"

the sailor-men, they took their stations
and sailed north my ship
the wind came free, and happily
below the sky we slipt

my vessel it did reach the dock
on the northern continent
the Guardian Spirit let me land
seeing me so penitant

"But I'm keeping the teriyaki sauce," said Okk.

but now I travel from town to town
on path and every trail
doomed to wander and find the man
that next must hear my tale

farewell, farewell!--but this I tell
to thee, thou adventurer!
don't sit in a safe and waste your days
go out and live it sir!

he who smiles and loves the world
will tell you, he will know
living life, not watching it's
the only way to go!

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