Collateral Damage Poem by Peter Bolton

Collateral Damage

There was this young bloke called Vellin, whose father was in business.
He wanted to marry a lass called Melna, a poor girl from a rough estate who had no parents.
Trouble was that Vellin’s father, Belforzan, had gone bust so they couldn’t get married.
At one time Belforzan had a merchant fleet of thirty ships.
Now he only had one and that was little more than a rusty old hulk.

Vellin had this crazy idea.
He’d heard about these silks in the Viridian Isles that were absolute bargains.
All he had to do was finance one shipment and he could pay for a wedding and set himself up selling double-glazing, a dead safe business.
The seas separating the Viridian Isles from the continent are really dangerous.
There are hundreds of wrecks there; it’s like a Viridian Triangle.
To get there safely you have to sail through this channel,
Which is marked by a steeple on the cliff.
It has a green light that beams across the sea.
Bank manager gave go ahead, so off Vellin sailed.
Vellin’s eyes stayed glued to his binoculars as the waves made the iron plates of his crate creak.
There was a violent storm with mountainous seas.
Phew! Was he glad when that voyage was over!

Trouble again.
Shipmates went in the pubs, telling tales.
‘Skipper’s going to marry this girl, Melna she’s called. That’s why he’s come to buy.’
So what? Well, why do you suppose that she’s so lovely?
She’s no common tart.
There’s only one possible explanation, she must be a lost princess.
I’ll tell you about this.

The King of Helgarna thought he could have it all.
Just because he had loads of warplanes and battleships.
Prince Chammar of the isles had a young daughter who was going to grow up to be a real looker.
The King knew this and demanded her for his wife,
And the Prince said yes, because he didn’t fancy being blown to bits.
The Princess found out and decided that she’d have to run away.
Oh dear! The King was mad, he went bonkers.
He sent his crack troops in, blasting the palace with rockets.
There was nothing left.
Melna was naffed off because she’d caused the death of her parents, but it wasn’t really her who’d done it.
Vellin had filled his hold with the precious silk and was underway when the King, who had annexed the islands, heard that Melna was Vellin’s beautiful girlfriend.
Well, you can imagine how jealous he felt!
If Vellin reached home now, there was nothing he could do without starting world war three.

The king could have sent a gunboat and blasted Vellin out of the water with a missile but that might have led to an international incident.
He was well in with this magician who had a top-rated show on telly every Saturday evening.
Nobody knew whether this magician was a he or a she because the basis of the act was illusion.
The object was to duplicate the lighthouse so as to cause confusion.
When he arrived in those parts,
Vellin suddenly found the light shining from every cliff top.
Clouds masked out the stars and soon those beaming lamps shone from every direction.
A raging storm started to drive his vessel onwards.
It was very impressive, but then the magician did have the resources of a space exploration programme at his disposal.
Poor Vellin!

When Melna went into exile she hadn’t a penny.
She was housed as a refugee in a far from salubrious area.
As she’d given up being a royal, she decided that she’d better make herself useful
So she went to night school and learned about electricity.
While Vellin was off on his business trip she discovered something amazing.
She made a light that floated in the air and she could make it go wherever she wanted. Naturally she wanted to show it to her love, but he wasn’t there, was he?
Never are.
So she had this bright idea.
She’d send a light out over the ocean so that he would see it as he returned,
And where better to meet him than in those treacherous straits.
The sailors were anxiously peering into the storm.
‘Bloody hell, ’ said one, ‘it’s a flipping flying saucer.’
He dived below for his camera and took a fuzzy photo.
The ball of light was floating above the sea and it wasn’t duplicated because the illusionist knew nowt about it.
When Vellin saw it he knew it wasn’t an alien invasion.
It was the truth and the light; it was love.
As I’ve now reached a happy ending, let the ship sail in with its teapot and coffee.

Esme is on a date with Norris, a burglar alarm installer from London. They share an interest in electricity and she has more or less decided to live with him. The change in language reflects both her pride in being a Northerner and her bravado as she challenges fate.
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