Finding Melville’s Whale: Chapter 9 – The Sermon

Chapter 9 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.

The Sermon

And now the captain begins his sermon,
A psalm to all sailors and a warning
to those who would mark their path by moonlight.

Jonah, condemned by god, seeks passage
to the edge of the world, beyond
god’s sight, god’s will, and god’s wrath
but no such edge exists.
Wickedness abides
within. He must
be swallowed
in his
But who,
by virtue
of repentance,
is again made free.
Not by the defiance
but rather the acceptance
of his punishment, thankfulness
for god’s lesson and for god’s mercy.

The lesson belongs not just to Jonah
but to any crew that would sail with such
a sinner among them. Be vigilant.