On the Pequod
after reading Moby-Dick
It is where I am. A crazy captain keeps watch
for the death-beast. A mad boy trills his notes.
A good compass borne in the hand of a poor wretch
of a first mate is thrown out. By fits and starts
the monstrous target is neared. A noble savage
aims his harpoon like a quick god of the sea.
“The whale! The ship!” From the terrible voyage
the worst is kept for the lone survivor, me.
Call me Ishmael. Ah the memories
that never will go, of my good shipmates gone!
What nerve, what American hearts! The mindless seas
crash me down to the depths. Again and again
I rise, remember again. A miracle
re-surfaces at the last, that I best loved –
the women and children whales, in a great school,
all in a mildness of joy. I am glad to have lived.