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The Rime of the Ancient Reggae Man

by Chris "Childe Harold" Oakley

It is an ancient Reggae man,
Who asks us all for tea:
"From mushrooms grown on fetid slopes
Is made this brew," quoth he.

"This liquor strange and magical
Will take the imbibee
To altered states, to higher planes,
And visions will he see!

"In local grounds, a mile from here
The plants are fed on ale
Tho' came they first from Africa,
From whence my forbears hail.

"For long before the white man came
To Togo's steamy shore
More ancient creeds than Christian ones
Comprised the native lore.

"The shamens of the ancient world
With bones and painted heads
Did drink this tea, and through its pow'r
Did summon forth the dead!

"And though 'twas oft the weaker ones
Both sick and mad became,
To masters of the beverage
Was brought illustrous fame!

"Now see I all you sailor boys
Are curious 'bout my tea,
And since I see you're men of taste
I'll let you drink for free!"

Thus upon the midnight stroke
A copper kettle brewed
Within the which, the darksome forms
Of Afric herbs were stewed.

An eager lad from Michigan
Does proffer plastic cup
But Reggae man, all full of wrath,
Will not let him sup:

"'Tis only through my special mugs
I voodoo arts do teach -
You get them at the stall o'er there -
For seven dollars each!"

Four sailor men on rented boat
Do join the drinking queue
The reggae rave leaves them unfazed:
They heedless quaff the brew.

Their skipper, Josh, a swarthy sort,
Has never heard of fear:
His days are passed in manly sport,
Or drinking kegs of beer.

His housemate Mark is more refined
And less inclined to strife:
He's puzzled that his cash and brains
Have yet to gain a wife.

The youngest one, who Rolfe was named,
At college was no slouch:
He 'entertained' the chicks in droves
Upon his casting couch.

The eldest one, named Oakerlee
Is author of this poem:
He joined the boat to get away
From legal fights at home.

The lads take down the Reggae drink
And then another, drain.
The preparation seems impart
Not pleasuring or pain.

The lads do smile as others barf,
At th'ineffectual draught:
"A Night Nurse more for me would do,"
Says Joshie with a laugh.

But chemistry that they don't see
Has started take a hold;
And slowly are their brains attacked
By fibrous mushroom mould.

The skipper starts the crazy trend,
For godlike now he feels -
"We'll sail the boat like hydroplane,
We'll get her on her keels!"

And tho' the wind is fearsome strong,
The crew more sail must make;
The skipper wants the power boats
A-bobbing in his wake!

The lines are stretched, the foam is white,
The boat does cream along:
But through the spray the crew descry
That something now is wrong!

The jib expires, shredded snaps,
And crackles in the breeze
That once the craft across the main
Did pull with stealthful ease.

Thus humbled must the lads return,
With flapping broken sail,
While laughing, jeering folk line up
Along the Yacht Club rail.

Brave Mark is next for derring-do:
As wait they in their berth:
And gathers dubious-looking plants
From fertile Carib earth.

He dries them on the barbecue
Upon the jetty point
And with an hundred Rizla packs
Does roll a massive joint!

The joint burns slow, with toxic fumes
That cause the crew to choke
And soon they all unconscious are,
Enclosed in acrid smoke.

For days on end, beneath the deck
Insensible they lie!
And in their dreams, which evil are,
The Reggae man comes by.

They woken are by lights and drums
That echo 'cross the bay
The Karaoke dismal din,
With vengeful force does play.

An Englishman with drunken drawl
Does murder Don McClean,
While yachting Yanks in shirts and shorts
Use drink to ease the pain.

A dark-haired lass with shapely curves
Does catch young Rolfie's eye
Who boldened by the Reggae draught
Decides to make a try.

They dance and touch, and then caress
But 'fore it gets too hot
She breaks it off, with forceful plea:
"A lover have I got."

But no restraining words of hers
Will make his ardour cool,
And ere the starlit night is out
He shags her by the pool!

And while the two in love's embrace
Do pant upon the grass,
The boyfriend of the girl espies
Rolfie's heaving ass!

He was not long out of jail
And hoped his ways to mend
But looked it though, with this blow
He soon would re-offend!

Rolfe runs like hell across the lawn
Then trips upon the pier
As vicious threats and running feet
Do reach his fleeing ears.

Then beneath the jetty boards
He floats there, playing dead
While tearful, plaintive arguments
Do rage above his head.

A crewman hardly mentioned yet
Is wise old Oakerlee
And you might ask just what effect
Did have the tainted tea.

The truth of that is: not that much
Until back home he got
When settled was his legal fight
With lethal rifle shot.

Because of this, and other scores,
Paid off in sim'lar ways,
Sequestered in a prison cell
He now does spend his days.

So let this tale a moral be
To all who walk the Earth
Who seek to be examples
Of virtuousness and worth.

There is no shame in m'rality:
It need not make you smug
You should at all times show restraint, and
Above all, DON'T DO DRUGS.