Finding Melville’s Whale: The Quarter-deck (Chapter 36)

Thanks to everyone who stuck around during our blog vacation. Our adventure into Moby Dick continues with chapter 36 – The Quarter-deck. 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 Quarter-deck

Ahab, standing upon the deck, his leg
locked into an augered hole, asks “ye pull
to what tune?” “A dead whale or a stove boat!”

A dead whale or a stove boat. He withdraws
a gold coin and hammers it to the mast.
“Gold to whomever raises me a white whale!

The whale that took my leg and left me lame!”
And the crew murmurs, for the harpooners
know the beast that Ahab has sworn vengeance.

Leviathan! with a quick and mighty spout,
whose body, marked by a dozen harpoons
is as white as the sea foam – Moby Dick.

And they raise a whaleman’s toast to vengeance.
“Death to the White Whale! Death to Moby Dick!”
And only Starbuck knows it is madness.