Poems from the Coast | Anne Bonny by Daniel Wade

Poems from the Coast | A Maritime Poetry Series

Yesterday was the birthday of Ireland’s formidable and fearsome pirate Anne Bonny. We just love this notorious rouge so today as part of our ongoing series of poems from the coast here is a poetic ode to the pirate herself by Daniel Wade.

Anne Bonny

Never, not since the fields of Kinsale

which she fled for the iron broil,

did she let bodice or flame stiffen

her breath: the sea-air was habit-

forming, surplus as tobacco,

the spray salted by aged storms.


Anne Bonny, standing in the place

of rightful execution, glared death

and deponent out of it, her hair a sash

of sea-burnt auburn. Courage belonged

even and especially in the dock,

not that anyone would recognise it.


Here and now, nothing wearied her:

official hows, wheres and whys

had no effect. The governor’s seal

stamped in scarlet wax, the women’s

perfumed outrage in the gallery,

her crewmates’ resigned tears –


nearly absorbed by the tide,

she translated the whisper

of waves into the lean syntax

of her own tongue, dancing hornpipes

on a precipice of fire, pleading

her belly for the sake of parole.


Her final words to you seethe

in your ears, like parting coals:

Had you fought like a man, you need

not have been hangd like a dog.”

About Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade is a poet and playwright from Dublin, Ireland. He is a graduate of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology where he studied English and Journalism.

Check out his website danielwadeauthor.com for more.

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22