Finding Melville’s Whale – Moby Dick (Chapter 41)

After reading some of the reviews from our Readers’ Survey, many people list these among their favorite posts, while many others consider them their least favorite. So, we’ve decided to change the posting schedule for Finding Melville’s Whale. From now on, one or two new entries will appear every Sunday, instead of Tuesdays and Thursdays. We hope you will continue reading along with us as we dive deeper in Melville’s masterpiece.

Moby Dick

By the glint of harpoon goblets, Ishmael
had sworn bloody vengeance upon the whale.
His future now belongs to Moby Dick.

A whale that terrorized the world’s oceans,
whose tremendous bulk instilled fear in all
men and marine life, even the sharks fled.

He became as god in whalemen’s legend,
ubiquitous, occupying all seas,
and immortal, no harpoon could harm him.

His great bulk, his forehead, wrinkled and white,
his deformed jaw, twisted and cruel, a scythe,
and a conscious, intelligent malice.

The were the fearsome features Ahab fought,
when from a shattered boat he pulled a blade
against the whale, in blood soaked seas, bodies,
lost comrades, swirled around him, Moby Dick,
who reached out with his reaper’s jaw and took
all that Ahab was, and also his leg.

In the throws of madness Ahab subsumed
his demons, leaving behind a monster-
filled captain, unyielding in his vengeance.

And the crew that sails with him, Savages,
Cannibals, Mongrels, broken men. Ishmael’s
oath is to this bloodthirsty endeavor.


  1. eric · February 7, 2011

    You guys have got to come up to Mystic Seaport for the annual readings of Moby Dick Marathon on Melville’s birthday Community read surrounded by the old seaport and the wooden whale ship. Of course even better come up for the Sea Music Festival!
    Only problem is they both happen during the more intensive field season.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · February 7, 2011

      I really wanted to see the Marathon this year. Maybe next year I’ll make a pilgrimage up to see the Seamen’s Bethel and watch the marathon.

      Who knows, maybe next year they’ll add an abridged Moby Dick Marathon featuring a certain poem…

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