I was wandering through a bookshop today and came across a tiny collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, among them a story called The Widow Ching - Pirate. So I marched right up to the cashier with the book hanging from my fingertips. (In a whimsical, childish, almost ridiculous way, I'm still fascinated by pirates. I mostly blame it on sailing.)
And because Borges is Borges, the story turned out to be an impeccable, graceful thing. It's about a female pirate called Ching Shih, who lead the most notable fleet in 1800's China. Battles and gunpowder and opium and liquor, all worded in a way that's bone-chillingly, achingly, haltingly perfect.
"And yet each evening, lazy flocks of weightless dragons rose high into the sky above the ships of the imperial fleet and hovered delicately above the water, above the enemy decks."