Finding Melville’s Whale: The Mast Head (Chapter 35)

Thanks to everyone who stuck around during our blog vacation. Our adventure into Moby Dick continues with chapter 35 – The Mast Head. Read along with us and discuss this chapter or the book as a whole in the comments. Visit this page for the complete collection to date: Finding Melville’s Whale.

The Mast Head

Upon his perch, one hundred feet above
the rolling pitch, deepest blue, a whaleman
loses himself to the sea, becomes her.

Grasping the cross-bar, he sheds all meaning,
binding his body with the ships timbers,
joining in holy union with the waves

beneath her hull. And from this vantage he
shall sight the monster rising from the deep
and call out to his shipmates, “Whale! Whale-ho!”

Yet lost in revelry, a thoughtful man
may falter in his union with the ship
and find the sea an unforgiving fate.