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Old 09-20-2018, 04:31 PM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,543
Default That Time

On still waters
the coffin comes in quietly
its blunt prow
snuffling death.

Queequeg coils his line
and reflects
on the chart in the water.

It is the time again.
The time to sail
The time to nail
the sun and stars
into the prophecy of wake.

The coffin bears its burden,
with freeboard enough
to take another through the westings
out to where Leviathan and Kraken wait.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:10 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: *
Posts: 1,439

I like this, Jan. Particularly "snuffling death." Also, the whole third stanza. I do keep wanting to put "our" before wake though. My only real issue is with the last line. It seems too expected. Maybe I'm missing something there, but I'd be so tempted to mess around with the close a little.

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Old 09-22-2018, 11:34 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,693

Very nice tone to this; fitting of a death procession (for a whale I presume. I'm pretty easily waylaid by the classics and mythology). I could be way off in my image of the Pequod arriving at dock with it's catch and then setting sail again to conquer the sea beasts. Queequeg is a brilliantly complex character so I'm fascinated.

Another in a series of ship to sea adventures… ?
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:50 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
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I'm not trying to be perverse, James (and Jan), but I like the last line. I like that sense of the distant mythic stirring.

And - this is staring to sound argumentative, although it shouldn't - I'm not sure about "snuffling death", which seems to be getting things the wrong way round. But it's a long time since I read MD and I can't remember the actual context here.

Is "reflects" a slightly naff pun? I only wonder.

But I'm with James overall. I like this too, Jan.


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Old 09-23-2018, 12:46 AM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Posts: 2,543

Thank you James, Jim and David,

If I explain where I am coming from:

Queequeg's coffin was built for death but gave life. My conceit animates the coffin to follow its nature and seek death then give life in some sort of marine Elysium.

Melville had Queequeg's tattoos as squares and knowing something of Maori tattoos it seemed strange until I thought of Polynesian stick maps (the mattang, rebbelib and medo) these can be square in construction and are not taken to sea and so I have the tattooed squares on Queequeg being maps.

James hopefully the explanation may assist.

Jim hopefully the explanation may also assist. I had not thought of a series but I have done a few.

David 'naff'!! bloody good. lol Hopefully the explanation of the stick map will redeem me.

It may be that I have condensed too much.

Many thanks and regards,

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