Poems of the Week

Spanish Booty

by Iris Herriot

After Bob Dylan

“‘Holy grail of shipwrecks’: recovery of 18th-century Spanish ship could begin in April
The San José, sunk in 1708, has been at the center of a dispute over who has rights to the wreck,
including $17bn in booty…
The country’s military is currently developing underwater robots that will
first photograph, video and map the wreckage before carefully attempting any retrieval.”

The Guardian

“Oh I’m divin’ down, my own true love,
To the San José in the mornin’;
Is there something you want? Best say so now,
’Fore some government starts complainin’.”

Yes, there’s plenty I’d like, since you did ask:
There’s plenty that ship was conveyin’;
I’ve heard talk of 17 billion bucks
At the present rate. (Just sayin’.)

“Oh, I might have guessed you would want something fine,
My own true love, from the booty,
Which is now being claimed by courts in Spain,
With no thought of tax or duty.”

Oh, but in Bogotá they are also keen
For this loot from the deepest ocean,
And maritime law’s sure to take its time
Before it finds a solution.

“I admit you’ve a point, my own true love,
And not all can believe in closure
With a muddlin’ case like the San José:
Spanish ship of Latin treasure.”

We’re agreed, we’re agreed: stuff is hard to take
From the seas so deep and cobalt,
And besides, I can’t be your own true love,
Since you, my dear, are a robot.