THE PEQUOD CREW

"No dignity in whaling? The dignity of our calling the very heavens attest.”

Chapter 5 – Breakfast

Grub Ho! Land Ho!

They’ve braved the seas

and faced leviathans

but have no need to

spin tales or brag

as they break their bread

Silence suffices.

Ch. 7 – The Chapel

I duck inside 

to take refuge. 

Here, where moody fishermen

pay their respects 

before they sail,

I am protected

from the wind and sleet 

but not from thoughts 

of what lies ahead.

Words etched in marble 

line the walls

to pay homage 

to dear departed sailors:

John Talbot ~ Lost overboard 

near the Isle of Desolation

(Keep your eyes on the preacher.)

 

Captain Ezekial Hardy ~ Killed by a Sperm Whale

on the coast of Japan

(Don't look at the walls.)

 

The Ship Eliza ~
Towed out of sight by a whale
(I will go to sea. I will go to sea.)

Ch. 14 – Nantucket

 

These naked Nantucketers,

these sea hermits, 

view land as a 

mere stopping point, only fit

to touch base with the missus

and breed more sailors.

The sea is his! He owns it.

Bed me down on the waves!

Chapter 15 – Chowder

Just landed and a nip’s in the air,

Ye can keep yer gold and silver,

give me chowder!

Comon’ lads, pull up a chair,

Ye can choose from clam or codfish,

Give me chowder!

Hot steaming bowls

to chase the cold away,

Rubbing elbows with my mates,

Bring it here now don’t delay!

No, don’t mull it - 

Fill yer gullet

Give me chowder!

Give me chowder!!

Give me chowder!!!

(When’s breakfast?)

Chapter  16 – The Ship

A ship in the harbor

a ship not at sea

is no ship at all

strange and solitary.

A ship with no captain

though in sunlight it gleams

is not yet alive

only mere joints and beams.

But when sails unfurl

and Ahab walks the deck

and the salt spray stings

the back of my neck

Then the Pequod will reign

and come into its own,

with the deep blue its kingdom

and the white waves its throne.

Chapter  19 – The Prophet

What’s done is done.

Papers signed

Promises made

Doubts have no place here

and must be swept aside.

Look ahead not back,

nor left, nor right.

We’ve thrown in our lots

with a captain named Ahab

and there is no turning back.

Chapter  20 – All Astir

Napkins and nutcrackers.

Pickles and quills.

Masts and sails.

Long lists to be checked off

and everything in its place.

Everything but the Captain -

who is

nowhere to be seen.

Chapter 22 – Merry Christmas

The 

sea may 

be too rough

for Bilbad’s old

body to endure, but

tis where his heart and

his soul reside. How to let go,

relinquish control, and trust others to

do what must be done? All he can do is

nervously holler a fond farewell: Don’t keep 

the cheese too long 

down 

the 

hole.

Chapter  23 – The Lee Shore

A whaler has no home but the sea, for

the land seemed scorching to his feet,

merely something to come back to

and then leave again.

’Tis one’s berth on board that 

beckons and feels familiar.

And if a man must die,

it best be done at

Home.

Chapter  26 – Knights and Squires

The wild, watery loneliness

of Starbuck

is not something to pity,

fear or condemn.

Tis a fact

Part of him

Unquestioned

With his matter-of-fact courage,

respect for his prey

and unswerving standards,

Starbuck is the barometer

by which all Pequod seaman

are measured

and to which all aspire.

Chapter 27 – Knights and Squires

The users and the used.

Will it ever be so?

White men at the helm,

dark men below.

Each side accepts,

never questions

and never wonders 

how might the world 

be altered if the 

and the bravest

were allowed

to rise to the top?

Chapter  31 – Queen Mab

Tainted by the day’s torments,

dreams continue the punishment.

Ahab haunts us all

and reaches out only in anger.

Best to avoid the man.

speak only when spoken to,

and avert one’s eyes.

'Twill be a long,

a very long,

three years.

Chapter  33 – The Specksnyder

Credit where credit is due.

A master harpooner 

makes or breaks

a whaling voyage.

Still, 

he serves at the 

whim of the captain

and what this ship of ours requires

must needs be plucked at 

from the skies.

Chapter  34 – The Cabin Table

I’d trade my rank for 

a mutton chop,

thinks Flask, 

mouth watering

for even one bite.

Give me my work

and then my pay,

but first and foremost

let me eat my fill 

and let me do it

in the company of

my peers.

Let’s Connect

Chapter  39 – First Night Watch
 
We know not
what lies in store, so
Why not laugh?
What’s worry for?
Why not laugh.
The bubbles that break
on your glass and mine,
the froth on our lips
from this ale divine -
We smile and we grin
guffaws to the brim
cuz I’d rather not know
‘what’s coming, my friend.
Why not laugh?

Chapter  40 –Midnight, Forecastle
 
 'Rig it, dig it, stig it, quig it,'
dance with me, sailor boy.
I’m far from my home,
the seas I do roam,
let’s drink and dance while we can!
'Crack, crack old ship!'
mind ya don’t take a tip
and drown in the deep blue sea
A row a row,” 'and away we go
may God be with you and me.

Chapter 42 – The Whiteness of the Whale

White
Vacuous
Vacant
Conjuring up Nothingness.
A man can understand
passion, anger, even evil.
But if void of color means
Cold
Merciless
Void of feeling 
Then the White Whale truly terrifies.

Chapter  43 – Hark

Hark!
This is not our ship
‘tho twill be our home
for three long years.
Tread softly!
Do not disturb the man
who rules this
Floating
Revenge
Seeker.

Chapter  49 – The Hyena

What else to do but laugh --
laugh like a wild Hyena!
Tis a vast, practical joke,
this riding the back 
of a whale
on a matchstick.
So sharpen the quill,
update the will, and
prepare to do it 
all over again
tomorrow.

Chapter  50 – Fedallah

Ahab’s unholy pursuit,
his single–minded revenge,
requires rare and
specialized assistance -
no run of the mill seamen
serve on this captain’s team,
and none are asked.
A hand-picked crew board secretly,
hide below,
and emerge only when needed.
Starbuck, Flask and Stubb
take it in stride.

Ch.  53 – The Gam
 
A passing ship stops
and offers whaling 
and weather reports
and the crew of the Pequod 
rushes to the rail to greet it.
Oh, the relief of different faces!
Maybe a chat with an old friend
of dear domestic things,
or perhaps a letter

for the fortunate few
from a year ago or two,
offering precious news 
of Home.

Chapter  54 – The Town–Ho’s Story
 
Take us away
from the deck or the hammock
from monotony’s dulling glare.
Spin us a tale full of
grit, spit and spirit and
make us all wish we were there.
The stakes must be high
for those risking it all and
the hero, tall and well–featured.
And if you can,
let there be Moby Dick
that hideous, milky-white creature.
'The White Whale!
The White Whale!'
A chorus of woe
rises up with
excitement and dread.
But despite all the
fury and flurry of men,
tis not Moby–Dick
who lies dead.

Chapter  60 – The Line

The magical, sometimes
horrible whale-line,
intricate and coiled in 
perilous contractions,
twists in and out
with man in between.
Hold on tight --
but not too tight --
lest ye get
dragged to the bottom.

Chapter  63 – The Crotch

Pay close attention.
Stalk your prey,
Aim your harpoon
and then
Stay out of its way,
lest you and not the beast be impaled.
Pay close attention
for your life
depends upon it.

Chapter 73 – Stubb and Flash Kill a Right Whale;  And Then Have a Talk Over Him

Superstition and ignorance
find danger in everything -
leviathans of every sort,
suspicious crew members,
perhaps even the Devil himself,
whom Stubb and Flash 
chat about disarming
while dissecting and disassembling
what threatens not at all
and indeed drifts away from them.
Meanwhile, the Captain’s shadow
ominously merges with said Devil,
blurring the line between 
danger that is real
and danger that is imagined.

Chapter 78 – Cistern and Buckets

MAN OVERBOARD!
Swallowed up,
if a beast with no head
can be said to swallow.

MAN OVERBOARD!
Tashtego falls in,
disappears,
Queequeg follows.

MEN OVERBOARD!
Submerged 
in the cavernous
Sweet-smelling hollow.

MEN OVERBOARD!
And up they both pop.
For ‘tis deadly to
Wallow.

Grey Beach Shores

Chapter 81 – The Pequod Meets The Virgin


Ungrateful dogs,

down on yer knees,

ye’ve got no business here,

these are our seas!

Pathetic ye are,

with no oil of yer own.

Ye do not belong here,

so why not go home.

Will ya burst a blood vessel, lads?

Spit fire or not?

A humped back old whale

is better than naught

So snag it and you’ll have

Hogshead in yer pot.

Comon, snag it and you’ll have

Hogshead in yer pot.

Chapter 84 – Pitchpoling

Pitchpoling

Whale rolling

Stubbs does excel.

Handling

Dandling

The lance he propels.

Aiming to kill,

Blood he does spill,

Sure footing

Caputting

There’s no parallel.

Chapter 85 – The Fountain


The snowy sparkling mist,

ever-present above a whale

as he emerges from the deep in

a swirl of prodigious commotion,

mystifies the sailor on watch.

Astonished and delighted

but not content with spectacle,

said sailor strives to understand -

the human anatomy serving

as his only reference.

How to make sense of

this curious creature

with misplaced windpipe,

no nostrils, and

a gargantuan ability to

hold his breath?

And what of that mist

shooting towards the sky?

He dare not get close enough

to find out.

Chapter 86 – The Tail

Woe to that sailor, whiskers and all,

when the fluke of a whale upon him does fall

and the oars and the crew and the harpoons do fly

til he’s floatin’ on his back starin’ up at the sky.

And the planks of the boat around him they sprawl

very much as a juggler tosses his balls.

Yea, a grudging respect is all he can feel

for a wallop that lands with the weight of steel.

A mere man can offer little resistance.

Tis something to admire – 

but from a distance.

  

Chapter  90 – Heads or Tails

Rare tea and good ale,

taken for granted by

the Privileged,

are a fantasy to the Sailor,

who toils for months 

for just a taste,

only to give it up by Law.

Tis mine

Tis mine

Tis mine

Chapter 93 – The Castaway

A small boy lost at sea,

insignificant and isolated,

is in the hands of the Gods.

Fear gives way to panic,

 then panic to oblivion.

The thing is common

in that fishery.

Chapter 94 – A Squeeze of the Hand

The Pequod loses 

the salty stench 

of sailor sweat and ribaldry, 

overtaken by the scent 

of spring violets.

Up to our elbows in

oozy, convivial buckets,

we lose track of

our hands that 

squeeze! squeeze! squeeze!

every last lump from 

the creature’s 

fragrant spermaceti.

Lulled by the spell 

of our sated senses, 

we lose,

but only temporarily,

what drives us.

Compete. 

Kill.

Conquer. 

Chapter 96 - The Try-Works

Whether your hand be on the tiller

(Never dream with thy hand on the helm!)

or the bedpost,

nighttime has a crafty way

of turning dark things darker,

scarier, more threatening.

Especially at risk is that man

prone to contemplation,

for there are no limits to

such a mind when the sun sets

and the moon disappears.

All he can do is 

pray for morning,

when the light of day 

puts to rest

the torments

 of the night before.

Chapter 97 – The Lamp

Bearded and grimy

with faces lit like angels,

off–duty watch rock softly

in their oaken vaults,

soothed by the sea’s rhythm

and sleeping the sleep

of the

uncomplicated mind.

Chapter 98 – Stowing Down and Clearing Up

Tis in whaling as in Life,

there is no rest,

for one thing follows another.

No matter how arduous,

still harder tasks will come

and often a man

just catches his breath

when along comes another.

So what is the point, exactly?

Like Pythagoras –

and sometimes feeling like Sisyphus -

we labor, we learn, we complain and we moan.

Over and over and over again.

Chapter 99 - The Doubloon

A coin serves as a magician’s glass

as each man gazes into 

his own mysterious self

and sees what he wants to see.

What will said coin buy?

What does it stand for?

A man can be read by

how he reads a coin.

Chapter 101 – The Decanter

First things first

says one sailor to another

Forget the pay

what’s to drink, brother?

Before I set

one leg upon this ship

Before ya say

where we’re off to on this trip

I’ll make it plain

and tell ya face to face

I ain’t going without gin

I drink it by the case

By the case

By the case

By the case, case, case

I can drink it night and day

While still whalin’ away

By the gill by the quart

By the barrel, any sort

Tell me do ye carry gin, man,

by the case?

Chapter 107 – The Carpenter

Were it not for a

certain grizzled wittiness,

this fixture of The Pequod

might be mistaken for a

permanent part of the futtock,

so seamlessly does the

weathered and sea-worthy carpenter,

ensconced at his bench,

blend into the deck.

Be it rusty capstan,

aching tooth or

cracked appendage,

he offers both an opinion

and a solution.

Chapter 109 – Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin

Beware of thyself, old man,”

warns Starbuck,

long years with Ahab

shoring up his resolve

to speak candidly -

hang the consequences.

A shred of prudence, or

perhaps remorse,

even decency,

calms the furrows

in Ahab’s brow,

reminding him for

one brief moment

that lunacy

is a choice.

Chapter 112 – The Blacksmith

The curse of the fatal cork is patient

with the man felled by the drink.

He who caused destruction

and heartbreak

and lost all.

So, too, must the man be patient,

with no other choice

but to live out his sentence

and endlessly circle the globe

as his hammer marks

another day,

another year,

of regret.

Let’s Connect

Chapter 114 – The Gilder


Soothing waters

Warm sunshine

Utter quiet, save the lap

of gentle waves.

No time,

only this moment,

to hear oneself think

and even thoughts are calm.

Man is not always greedy,

blood-thirsty and

hungry to conquer.

On such a day,

a man meets his other self,

his better self.

Would it would last

forever.

Chapter 121 – Midnight.—The Forecastle Bulwarks


A sailor

is anchored

to his ship

His ship

to the ocean

The ocean

to the planet

The planet

which feels steady and

solid as granite

floats and spins

held down

by He who planned it

and the whims

of those who stand on’t.

Chapter 122 – Midnight Aloft.—Thunder and Lightning

Boom! 

My heart thumps.

Bang!

My brain throbs.

Crack! 

The mainsail splits.

Save the ship

Save myself

Save some RUM

Chapter 123 – The Musket

Ahab wrestles with the Devil in his sleep

as Starbuck hovers at the door,

knowing his captain’s awakening

will unleash even more madness.

Save Thyself, Starbuck!

This musket you cradle,

once aimed at you,

could now end this delirium

and turn the Pequod home –

Save Thyself, Starbuck !

Think of your wife!

Your boy!

Your crew!

The Devil awakens soon …

Do it now

Do it now

Do it now

Save Thyself, Starbuck!

Chapter 126 – The Life–Buoy

Not even one sailor can be saved

by a ship ill-equipped for rescue

and hell bent on a devil’s errand.

Do what you’re told.

Turn a corpse’s bed

into a life buoy

and be quick about it.

Chapter 127 – The Deck

May the song that ye sing

light yer way

ease yer load

Hey, hey

May the ring of yer mallet

be the tune

of yer ode

Hey

Not a thought in yer head

to intrude on the task

But a little conversation

makes the job go fast

Sing a song if ye like

to the beat of this spike

Nail it in

Hey, hey

Nail it in.

Chapter 129 – The Cabin

I hear ivory above me

it comes and it goes

My captain please let me

lighten your load.

Wherever the need is

Pip will be

I will spot the white whale

leave it all to me.

I am spinning in your chair

bring me up, sir, to your side

On the deck of the Pequod

you and I will take a ride!