The Pirate Valdez

The Dread Pirate Valdez is a character who’s mentioned in Shakespeare, but who never actually appears on-stage. The name suggested certain things to me. I don’t usually get this obvious with a message, but even back in 1993 — when I first wrote it — it made me furious what was being done to our oceans. The situation has not improved.

Night. The ancient lighthouse-keeper
Looks to the sea, as the dark grows deeper.
He turns to his children, and this he says:
    “My children, beware of the Pirate Valdez!”

“He sails the seas in a leaky scow,
With garbage piled from stern to prow.
Used syringes are his treasure,
And oily sludge his greatest pleasure.

“He stands on his pile of smelly things,
And this is the terrible song he sings:

        ‘Hooray for trash, and oil, and sludge —
        I love it more than chocolate fudge!
        I love it more than wealth or pelf!
        I love it more than life itself!’

“He picks up a barrel of stinky goo
And throws it into the ocean blue.
Then the Pirate laughs ’til he splits his sides
As it floats ashore on the morning tides.

        “‘Hooray!’ he sings, ‘for the color grey!
        All of the Earth should look this way!’

The ancient lighthouse-keeper turns;
A terrible light in his dark eye burns.
He looks to the sea, and again he says:
    “My children — beware of the Pirate Valdez!”

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