Thursday 19 December 2019

A Poem for Thursday Moby-Dick

Earl Livings is a Melbourne based poet. His first book of poetry, Further Than Night (Bystander Press), was published in 2000.

An acrostic poem uses the first letter of each to line to spell out a message, or in this case, the title of a book and it's various characters.

It's a little bit of fun to get me back into blogging about Moby-Dick.

Moby Dick: Acrostic Sampling
By Earl Livings | 1 June 2013 | Cordite Poetry Review

1. Title

may, there stands the
of sea boots was heard in the entry; the door
bulwarks of ships from China; some
you?’ – he at last said – ‘you no speak-e,

do to take care of myself
interior door
charm wanting? – Water –
knots of human hair; and one was

open, and in rolled a wild set of mariners enough.
rise – yes, he’s the bird

turning flukes – it’s a nice
halting steps I paced the streets, and passed the sign
either in a physical or metaphysical

with fresh surprise. There was no hair on his head – none to
Harpoons’ – but it looked too expensive and
about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is
leviathan himself?
ever heard of. On the contrary

2. Author

He wears a
ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company
remember that – and
a child, I well remember a somewhat similar
No one having previously heard

marble tablets, and
England traveller
lie buried beneath the green grass;
vain; the indignant gale howls
In New Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers
lies my
lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and
empty stomach, in the Negro heart of Africa, which was the

3. Ishmael

clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth
as seen in the
‘look you,’ roared the Captain, ‘I’ll kill-e you, you cannibal
lasso, caught it

matters were, dived down and disappeared. A few minutes
eyes; for

I now complained
surprise and no small concern, Queequeg now gave me to
he was fearful Christianity, or rather Christians, had
more, and he rose again, one arm still striking out, and
affectionate arm
eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of
long living arc of a leap

4. Queequeg

Humiliation, was
eluded him.
Another. This world pays dividends
deal less than seven hundred and seventy-seven
poising his harpoon, cried out in some
egress to Bildad, who, I make no doubt, was
dost not
down for the three hundredth,’
last, and knew nothing
into an
Gayhead, said that the name would somehow

Peleg, to his partner, who, aghast at
upon this ragged old sailor; and
rig jury-masts – how to get into the
papers. We must have Hedgehog there, I mean
looking over the bedside, there
eagerness to vanish from before the awakened wrath of

rag of a black handkerchief investing his neck. A confluent
a broad shad-bellied
soul’s a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon
content if the world is ready to
a ship-owner; Bildad, as I hinted before
look; limped towards me where I lay; pressed his

5. Pequod

about his

talk of securing the top-sail halyards to them. In his
harpooner, say; and if in emulation
invite to that town some score or two families
not a tame
graze the keel, would make her shudder

ocean to kill whales for my living, and not

the world but in Africa, Nantucket, and
ruddy, young fellow, very pugnacious
own father’s? Where in the bottomless deeps, could he find
permitting stars. But this august dignity I treat of, is not
honouring us whalemen, is this: they think that, at best, our
island of Nantucket? Why did Britain
encounter all the terrors of the pitiless jaw;
since in this famous fishery, each mate or headsman,

6. Ahab

or inexpressive, I shall say so, and suggest another. I
lofty jet rising like a tall misanthropic spear upon a
devilish broad insult. But this insult is whittled

than the whale-fleet
hands among the unspeakable
upon fixed wages, but upon their common
down to a point only.” But now comes the greatest joke of
request among jewellers and watchmakers.

7. Starbuck

soul is more than matched; she’s overmanned; and by
this, with soul beat down and held to knowledge, – as wild
against Tashego
identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for
distracted decks upon which they gaze; however,

sting, that sanity should ground
things are forced to feed – Oh, life! ’tis now that
at every
descry what shoals and
from the inclement weather of the frozen seas. In the fireside
as when an African elephant goes passenger
such a field! I think I see his impious end; but
the latent horror in thee! But ’tis not me! that

8. The Whale

A row! a row! a row!

comparatively, had knowingly seen him;
of their aspect. So that
lurking in him then, how soon would their
of the albatross: whence come those clouds
round our
life, – all this to
even at the present day has the original
strongly on the imagination of an untravelled American
storied structures, its neighbours – the

a row a’low, and a row aloft – Gods and men – both
leads his shaft by the ever shifting, muffled sound
Lords of the White Elephants

circumference, many
of spiritual wonderment and pale dread, in which that
of that brute; for, analysed, that heightened hideousness
rising in a milk-white fog – Yea, while

only arises from the circumstances, that the irresponsible
few of the fishermen recalled, in reference to

A row! arrah a row! The Virgin be blessed, a row!
These two statements may perhaps
Hue, nor yet his deformed lower jaw, that so much invested
enough in offering battle to the Greenland or Right whale
in his frantic
more obvious considerations touching

Jennifer @Holds Upon Happiness posts a lovely Poem for a Thursday each week. I enjoy sourcing poems from my recent reads to join in with her whenever I can.


  1. What an amazing author, person, and book he wrote!

  2. That is totally crazed! They look like they're all lines from Moby-Dick, too. I'm not sure I understand a word of it...;-) but it's impressive!


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