For most of human history, life expectancy has been short – perhaps 25 years for our hunter-gatherer ancestors and only 37 years for residents of England in 1700. Dramatic changes began in the 18th century, with life expectancy in England rising to 41 years by 1820, 50 years by the early 20th century, and 77 years today.
But what about the average lifespan of a pirate? Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, one of the most successful pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy began piracy at age 37 and died three years later in a battle with the British Royal Navy.
With a fearsome appearance, Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach, is often credited with creating the stereotypical appearance of a pirate. His pirating career lasted only two years before he was killed aboard his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
What about the pirates or crew members who lived to be a ripe, old age?
Pirate Poems: Try It
Imagine you’re a pirate in the golden age of your retirement years. What does your day look like? How has life changed for you? Have you taken up any hobbies (golf, maybe?) or picked up a part-time job at a bait-and-tackle shop?
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt, here’s a poem from Rick we enjoyed:
‘Tis the good ship, Bless the Wind
sailed proud in the sea of mind.
Up the mast I made my way,
with the birds and the clouds I’d play,
a Kidd with the pirate kind.
For hours to the land, I’m blind,
young wings in a tamarind,
far from home on a branch I’d sway.
On my good ship!
To the way of the world, I sinned,
not for torn pants, nor knees skinned,
but I’d ventured beyond home’s cay,
where I was commanded to stay.
For now, I dream in my room, disciplined.
On my good ship!
—by Rick Maxson
Photo by Charlotte Sanderson. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland