The Captain’s Daughter


the sailor boy
is treading water
he’s in love with
the captain’s daughter

the captain doesn’t know
if he did he’d forbid
an old-fashioned man
he runs a tight ship
and sails his family like so

long-haired Rapunzel
is locked in a tower
so is the Lady of Shalott
both loveless alone and
somewhat romantically inclined

the sailor boy
is doubly overboard swept
and strikes for the shore
though swimming is alien
to his naval aspiration

Lancelot du Lac rides by
while Dame Shalott yearns:
a Che Guevara in shining armour
‘his coal-black curls’
thrill her frozen breast

Rapunzel Rapunzel
let down your hair
cries the sinking sailor
Rapunzel I’m drowning
let down your hair

these distressed mademoiselles
are at the mercy of spells
both hoping for rescue
yet not quite alike
Rapunzel is rough and tougher

Lancelot spies his lofty Lady
and is smitten too
she’s so pliantly fated
he’s in for a shock
Rapunzel is from sterner stuff

that boring cabin-boy
adores my plait
he’ll drive me batty
if he climbs up my hair –
perhaps it’s better he drown?

the sailor boy
is now in deep water
he’s in love
with the captain’s daughter

Lancelot rides on
to Camelot – where else?
she has a swoon as likely as not
the curse has come upon me*
cries the Lady of Shalott

will Rapunzel let down
her braided hair and save?
will the knight astride
his prancing palfrey regret
he ever clapped eyes?

Rapunzel is mysteriously aware
of the Lady of Shalott:
she’s my doppelgänger likely as not
nevertheless I refuse to be doomed
I’ll shin down my cut braid

I can’t be doing with
all this pre-Raphaelite tosh
sink or swim sailor boy
though I’m the captain’s daughter
the sea of life is my own

the forlorn sailor boy
is in ever deeper water
and hopeless in love
with the captain’s daughter


*the oldest howler in The Schoolgirls’ Giant Book Of Jokes


Jeff Cloves
Illustration: Claire Palmer






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