My Lunchtime Encounter with the Whaleman | Teen Ink

My Lunchtime Encounter with the Whaleman

April 10, 2018
By Anonymous

Let me tell you this story:
-- I’m not looking for glory,
But I know that you’ll like to hear it.

It was noon, mid-July,
And, my throat being dry,
I figured I’d stop to clear it.

So I sat down at this place,
Content smile on my face,
And I hailed the waiter for a drink.

“A tall glass of beer!”
Said I, with some cheer,
“For it will well fight the heat, I think.”

So here I was settled,
And no one had meddled,
But life has a beckoning call.

He sat all alone,
Making the corner his home,
From there, surveying all.

Having caught sight of me,
His face filled with glee,
And he began coming down from his chair.

It was at this junction
That I saw lack of function
Concerning one of the legs in his pair.

Where one, including me,
Would be expecting a knee,
His was nowhere to be found.

There, instead of the leg,
Was a finely carved peg,
Thumping firmly ‘gainst the ground.

On this, he hobbled over,
His face growing sober,
And greeted me: “How do ya do, me boy?”

Before I describe my reply,
You must understand why
This man my fears did employ.

The old-timer sitting near me
Was evidently -- clearly
The infamous Captain Ahab.

With this being said,
I nearly dropped dead,
Fear poked at my heart with a jab.

“I’m doing just fine, sir”
Said I, feeling a heat stir,
As my face grew the brightest of reds.

He went on to tell me
That he’d “Sailed straight to Hell, see!”
And seen the beast which every man dreads.

Then, seeing my confusion,
He made the allusion
To the whitest of whales in the sea.

“Moby Dick! Moby Dick!”
He screamed, with a kick,
His peg flipping the table on me.

Now, consider me alarmed,
For I was anything but charmed,
But alas! I had yet to touch my beer.

It was spilt on the floor,
But I could think of it no more,
For the mad captain quickly drew near.

He spoke of a chase
Transcending all race;
With men of all nations aside.

“We hunt for the beast
For whom me leg was a feast,
And we leave at the rise of the tide.”

“Are you in?”
Ahab asked, through his grin,
Excitement sneaking to his eyes.

“Lord knows there ain’t a time
I won’t pay top dime
For a man throwin’ harpoons through the skies.”

I thought for a while,
And then, with a smile,
I told him I’d join the crew.

For this life is so short,
And you’ll have naught to report
To your grandkids, if nothing you do.

The author's comments:

I was reading Herman Melville's Moby Dick in my English class, and I became completely consumed by it; so consumed, in fact, that upon waking up from a night of reading, I found stanzas of a poem waltzing into my head. I began to verbalize them as I showered, and dedicated the school day to writing line after line. The resulting poem is a reflection of my love for the epic tale of Moby Dick in conjunction with my desire to live as intensely as possible. 

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