Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 11 – Nightgown

Chapter 11 of the classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville, summarized in verse. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments.


Beneath the sheets of a shared bed, Queequeg
and Ishmael, now bonded in brotherhood,
share in the warmth of the other’s bodies.

With eyes closed a man can experience
who he really is. The darkness light your
inner self, while the light disguises it.

And so Ishmael awakes and takes a light
to Queequeg’s tomahawk pipe. When last night
he opposed the smoke, he now welcomes it

from a friend. Over their shared tobacco,
he encourages Queequeg to tell his
story. And so the savage tale begins.