Friday, August 09, 2013

Clipper Ship - The Ballad of Captain Kyle

In 1988 I had a class in CAD/CAM at RPI.  It had a mouse that looked a lot like the compass I used for orienteering in Boy Scouts.  You could see through it so you could position the cross hairs on the appropriate parts of a picture or diagram beneath it.  If you review a history of the mouse, it was noted in 1984 that it would lead to the failure of the Mac.  So that gives you an idea of how early in computing history we were.  If that doesn't convince you, then you might consider that the machine I took to school was what was considered a top line 80286 Compaq portable and the computer before that had been a Vic 20 with a cassette drive.

I had a favorite picture of a clipper ship that died only recently.  It was that poster that I used for my CAD project. Beautiful, eh?  It's named after a girl I never managed to get a date with from high school.

But just a picture wasn't enough.  As a bit of foreshadowing to my days of leaving long-winded stories embedded within production VB code, I wrote a poem to go with it.  The Ballad of Captain Kyle.  Apparently I sent the picture and poem to my Grandpa Don, because a letter, the poem, and the ship were all in a folder of important documents my grandmother left behind when she passed on this year.  I'm not sure if she kept it because she enjoyed it so much, or because she was worried she might need it one day during arguments about whether I needed to be committed.  To be fully above board (ha!), when I submitted the ship for my class assignment, the poem was submitted with it.  I had a habit of submitting literature with my assignments.  I suspect I can find Physics Picnic in the trunk downstairs.  I hear it was on the overhead display for how to create a physics cheat sheet for years.

So without further ado, The Ballad of Captain Kyle, in picture and text form.  Enjoy.

The Ballad of Captain Kyle

There was a man whose name was Kyle
He sailed the ocean blue,
And the Lady Amy, bright and fair,
To her his heart was true.

He sailed and searched the seven seas
In quest of gems and gold,
But back to Amy his heart would wander
After adventures fierce and bold.

Yet upon the waters did also reside
A man of evil intent,
Weinerbeard, the African pirate,
Who did Captain Kyle resent.

A man so sick, so cruel and mean,
That to the gods he did taunt,
"Amy's not so special,
She's mine whenever I want!"

So he sailed stealthily into the port
Near her home under the dark of night,
And kidnapped her, bound, hand and foot,
Wrapped up sound and tight.

The news came to Captain Kyle
As he stood upon windswept bow,
And looking up to the heavens above
He made an angry vow.

"I'll have you Weinerbeard, I know I shall,
And you'll pay for what you've done,
Your ship will sink and your life be mine
Before the setting of another sun!"

So he sailed out, upon his ship,
The clipper, her lady Nicole,
And found Weinerbeard, ready and await,
Anchored in a nearby shoal.

Guns were fired and cannon roared,
Their noise a salvo of thunder,
Masts were felled, sails ripped,
And timber split asunder.

Smoke rolled heavily across the sea,
Obscuring all from sight,
Bodies and debris littered the water,
Bloody evidence of the fight.

The Nicole was boarded and Weinerbeard came
Challenging Kyle to a duel,
"I'll have your head," he bellowed aloud,
"You'll not stand before me fool!"

Their swords did clash, steel upon steel,
Sparks flying far and wide,
Until with a thrust, Kyle did run him through,
His sword in Weinerbeard's side.

Thus, Weinerbeard fell, his lifeblood spent,
On his burning ship sailors yelled alarms,
And Captain Kyle sailed away into the bright sunset
Fair Amy within his arms.

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