Skirophorian: The Captain Speaks

Miracle Nixon

King Minos is a minor figure in Greek Mythology. He was said to be married to the mother of the minotaur. Since the minotaur didn’t get any satisfaction from normal food and water, King Minos sent 14 children into the labyrinth so that the creature could get his proper sustenance. He was also said to be against piracy, and he spent his life as king getting rid of every pirate he could. His palace resided in Knossos, Crete, which was said to be near the labyrinth built by Daedalus for the minotaur. My persona is a pirate captain who writes with the expectation that King Minos will read what she has written. The poems are not in letter-form despite them speaking to King Minos directly. I wanted to capture the captain’s voice while also capturing how Minos was as a king and person through the eyes of a pirate.

The Captain’s  Words

From her ship, Dahlia, she hears

The stories flow in broken words on the southern winds

From Crete to Athens. 

King Minos was said by old pirates to be an evil king
One that ruled in favor of himself

And urged his men to rid his kingdom of the

parasites that sickened his territory.

The captain had never seen the king outside of her imagination.

And the captain didn’t consider herself to be a pestilence. 

Though, if taking jewels and treasures for her crew counted as such, 

Then she made peace with the matter. 

She made the seas her own, sailing through the blue waters

In search of what it mean to be a pirate

And why King Minos was threatened by the likes of her. 

Captain of Warship Dahlia, 4th Century BC
		- written to King Minos of Knossos, Crete
		The festival of Skira 

When I  asked about your rule, Minos
How you went about keeping Knossos in line
Despite the pirates that dared to cross your borders,
They who sailed the seas told me about your 
Distaste for the likes of them. For the likes of me. 
How we kill with no mercy, never running away from your people,
But always moving forward with our swords
Drenched in the enemy's blood, wearing black triangles of piracy. 
You’re painted by them as a god who rules with 
An iron fist and brass knuckles. 
When you talk, your words spew out like hot magma,
Melting everything that dared to cross your path. 
Your gold is what you value, more than your 
Cursed son locked away in the depths of the labyrinth.
You want to keep your gold away from us, Minos. 
You want to see our blood spill away into the vast seas, 
And know that you were the one that did it. 

The Aegean Diary 

It may surprise you, Minos
That we, pirates, share a deep love with something
Aside from golden vases filled with jewels

Or money 
Or our greed

Though as much as I crave the feeling of that wealth
Against my fingertips,
Or the taste of comfort in power to rest against my lips and 

Onto my tongue, 
The sea is where my true love lies. 

I doubt you understand, Minos,
The feeling of the dewy air at dawn
Or the cool rush of wind at dusk

Just watching the hues of blue mesh together as they
Move with the current under the hot sun

It brings me peace, Minos
Which may astonish you
That we, pirates, could ever experience the soft bliss of peace.

That we could ever find joy in something deemed moral by you.
Something that doesn’t stain our fingers with tainted blood.

Perhaps, my love for the sea is something you lack any 
Knowledge of, and it pains you, Minos
That we, pirates, know something you don’t. 

As she spent her days sailing the hues of blues

That scattered the islands between Crete
And Athens, she wondered if she would ever 
Meet this old king.
She wondered if she would come face to face
With the man who was worshiped by the inhabitants of his
Kingdom more than the gold or silver that lined his chambers.
The captain wondered if she would share a word with him, finally. 
Having held the sentences she wished to speak to him, her mind
Was thrown around in frenzies. 
She had grown tired of hearing about how evil this king had seemed, though
She never had experienced his evilness herself. 
If she had the chance to see King Minos,
To stand before his throne,
Not afraid of his distaste for her piracy, 
Not afraid of his wish to see her dead,
She would stand tall before him, and ask,
“My Lord, King Minos, what have we done to you?”