The Ballad Of Bigfoot (Hidden In Rudyard Kipling’s Desk By Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

By: Kurt Luchs

The name’s Dan O’Brien and I won’t be lyin’

If I say I’ve seen a thing or two.

I’ve sailed more than most from coast to coast,

From the China Sea to Timbuktu.

I’ve braved many a gale on back of a whale,

Sent many a fool to Davy’s Locker;

Cut sails from the gizzards o’ giant lizards

And still I ain’t ready for a rocker.

I’ve kissed native girls with coral for curls

And bodies like burnished ivory.

Then after my pleasures I plunder their treasures

With whiskey and wiles and connivery.

I take their gold to have and to hold

And leave ’em to sob in their huts.

I’ve nothin’ to do with ’em when I’m through with ’em —

The Devil take the heathen sluts!

But in all the years passed before the mast

I never yet knew a creature

As could make me squeal or turn on my heel

And holler for a preacher,

Unless you’re exceptin’ that beast of deception

With a smell like pickled pig’s foot,

That hairy mound who howled like a hound

The fearful name o’ — Bigfoot!

My leaking bark was the Crippled Shark,

My crew was two score and ten;

Recruited from middens and debtors’ prisons

To a man they were desperate men.

We hoisted our ales and lowered the sails

And pointed her into the sun,

Then to celebrate this affair of state

Fired the cook from the forward gun.

The sea was clear as a maiden’s mirror,

The sky was blue as a vein;

We were three days south when the weather gave out

And began the cursed rain.

It hailed cats and dogs and poisonous frogs

Till we thought we were Noah’s Ark.

Then the mainmast split when the lightning spit

And crippled the Crippled Shark.

We were tossed and torn around the Horn,

All the while the deck was burning,

But I swore allegiance to the regions

From which there’s no returning.

When the hurricane ceased and gave us peace

We all of us made crosses,

Then dropped a rope near the Cape o’ No Hope

To ascertain our losses:

One bosun burned, or so I learned

When I breathed in half his ashes;

The first mate hid ‘neath a lifeboat lid

Till I gave him forty lashes.

The cabin boy had been thrown like a toy

Behind the fo’c’s’le ladder

And there he stayed while the thunder played

And he lost control of his bladder.

“Press on!” says I. “We’ll do or we’ll die,

And woe to them that disobey.

The first to utter a cowardly mutter

Will be the first to lose his toupee!”

Though my crew of fifty were yellow and shifty

And wouldn’t stand my scrutiny,

I settled their hash with musket and lash

Till they planned a murderous mutiny.

They brought me a broth of boiled sloth

To make me sleep like a gypsy;

Then the second mate took a silver plate

And bashed me until I was tipsy.

They set me adrift in a scurvy skiff

With my noggin nailed to the floor

And said, “Roses are red, but dead is dead

And we’ll never see you no more.”

The tropical air baked me medium rare,

To the four winds I was a slave;

And while I was waitin’ I prayed to Satan

To take my crew to the grave.

For days without number I had no slumber

Nor food, nor drink to tide me by,

And should things get dull a passing gull

Would make a pass at my one good eye.

By luck at last my bones were cast

Upon a sharp and slimy beach

Where on the sand a moth-eaten band

Of monkeys gabbled, each to each.

Monstrous they were with matted fur,

Faces smiling like open sores;

Such was their stench that it gave me a wrench:

“Touch me not or you’re damned!” I roars.

But worst of all, though their heads were small

And fit like nuts for cracking,

Their feet were the size of Victoria’s thighs —

No use to try attacking.

Odoriferous, Lord! And vociferous

They stammered and stank all about me,

Then tried to unmind me by pointing behind me

When one of ’em made to clout me.

‘Twas my belief that she was their chief

(If such could be anointed);

Each toe was big as a suckling pig

And her tiny skull was pointed.

In midair she stopped, to her knees she dropped

And kissed my offended fingers.

I’ve since washed and washed at a fatal cost

Yet still the smell of her lingers.

“In short,” she queried, “would you be married?

And if you’re not, are you looking?

Unless you’re my beau, your carcass we’ll throw

Into that pot a-cooking.”

She showed me a stew where my traitorous crew

Were turned into appetizers.

My men, once vicious, were now delicious

And none of them the wiser.

“In every port,” I says in retort,

“I’ve got a gal I call my wife

And more’s the pity ’cause they’re all pretty

With looks not like to shorten my life.

“In any event your lovely scent

Leaves something to be desired.

I’d sooner be buried than getting married

To an animal that’s expired!”

At this she rears and covers her ears

And screams to have me skewered.

Though few the men within her ken

She seems to want one fewer.

But I offers my knee completely free

To her dainty knob of a nose;

Then as if by chance I dances a dance

On all twelve of her swollen toes.

And before the twits could gather their wits

I parted ’em like the ocean

And rendered ‘em gutless with dagger and cutlass

To prove my undying devotion.

Without looking back I beat a track

To the brink of the Devil’s waters

And diving headfirst I swore a curse

On Darwin and all his daughters.

It was sink or swim and by God’s whim

I sunk straight down to the bottom

Where my bones were sweet with delicate meat

For all the sharks that got ’em.

When next I awoke I was coughing up smoke

And tied to a bed o’ fire;

The name’s Dan O’Brien and now I’m lyin’

Where everyone’s a liar.


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