A New Year Pirate Poem

Happy New Year to you. If you’ve just tuned in here, Poetry Tag is where Rebecca and I take turns challenging each other to include a set of words in a poem. Topic and form are the poet’s choice, but the set words must be included.

I have to admit, this is the first time since we started that I’m posting something I’m not best pleased with.  It’s my fourth attempt to use the words, and I’ve decided I just have to post something, to show that I tried, I really tried.  And to show that sometimes poems just will not behave.

The problem lies in one of the words Rebecca gave me ‘pirate’ – or, to be more accurate ‘the pirate’.  As soon as I saw that  word, I vowed that there would be no actual pirate in my poem. I would use  the pirate as a metaphor for something else. But my metaphor just would not behave, and each attempt was not only trite, but also didn’t flow as a poem.

This latest attempt presents the idea I wanted to get across – of doubt being a pirate trying to rob us of success or happiness or pleasure.  But I did want my final version to be cleverer and read less preachy. Still, time has tick-ticked by since Rebecca set the words, so I have decided to post this version, and then let it rest, in the hopes that my  subconscious treasure box will work away at what I was really trying to do once the pressure is off.

So, here’s my response to the words ‘the pirate’, ‘idle’ ‘eats’ and ‘will’. And watch out, Rebecca. You might have stumped me, but vengeance will be mine because now it’s my turn to set words for you!

New Year

A new year

Is a an uncharted sea

on which to set sail

aiming for lofty horizons.

Goals are the ship you board

hoping for treasure before year’s end.

Doubt is the pirate

that battles will

and eats



at courage

and determination

and hope

in idle moments.

Trust is the noble warrior

brandishing the cutlass

that forces the pirate

onto his own plank.

Belief is the sailor

who takes the wheel

and redirects the vessel.

Success is the ultimate goal

though it rarely looks

exactly as planned.

Sometimes the treasure is

different than imagined,

other times it lies in simply

looking back at the journey

and still others

it’s being alive to tell the tale at all.

(Copyright Sally Murphy 2018)





Both Rebecca and I took a little time to come up with poems to our last set of words. So I was determined when she set me new words to get straight onto it. Fortunately the idea for this one came quickly. I think the arrangement of the magnets made me immediately think of measuring lives, and the rest just came.

Walk Pic June 14


Some people measure their lives
by the achievements they’ve made
the people they’ve met
the money they’ve earned.
Some people worry
how they’ll be remembered
and who they’ll be remembered by.
But stop for a moment
and take note
of the breaths you take
the songs you sing
and the loves you love.
Treasure immeasurable.

(Sally Murphy, 2014)