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A Cilician Pirate, 57BC by Thomas Tyrrell

You say you are a man of Rome,
Brought up among her schools?
That city on the seven hills,
Where Julius Caesar rules, they say,
Where mighty Caesar rules?

Your pardon, sir! We’ll cut you loose
To make your own way home,
For we have sworn never to hold
A citizen of Rome, oh no,
Never a man of Rome.

A noble Roman once set sail
With a princely retinue,
And we boarded him and took his ship
And slaughtered all the crew, oh yes,
We slaughtered all his crew.

So haughty was his look and speech,
Imperious yet handsome,
We saw at once that he was worth
A rich and golden ransom, yes,
A twenty talent ransom.

He laughed at our demands and said,
“You know not whom you hold.
For I will buy my liberty
With fifty talents in gold,” he said,
Talents of purest gold.

Once freed, he hired himself a fleet
And sought us far and wide.
My shipmates he took prisoner
And had them crucified, he did,
Throats slit and crucified.

We hold no Romans ransom now,
But swiftly set them free.
The sea, they claim, is their domain;
We drop them in the sea, we do,
Headfirst into the sea.

Your liberty is now restored,
Walk out along this plank;
Swim home to mighty Caesar’s arms.
It’s him you’ve got to thank, oh yes,
It’s Caesar you should thank.

---

Thomas Tyrrell has a PhD in English Literature from Cardiff University. He is a two-time winner of the Terry Hetherington poetry award, and his writing has appeared in Allegro Poetry, Amaryllis, Cheval, The Lake, Lighten Up Online, London Grip, Lonesome October, Poetry 24, Spectral Realms, Picaroon, The Road Less Travelled, Runcible Spoon, Three Drops From A Cauldron, VampCat Mag, Wales Arts Review, Wales Haiku Review and Words for the Wild.

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