Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

The Maldive Shark


About the Shark, phlegmatical one,
Pale sot of the Maldive sea,
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim,
How alert in attendance be.
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw,
They have nothing of harm to dread,
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank
Or before his Gorgonian head;
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
And there find a haven when peril's abroad,
An asylum in jaws of the Fates!
They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey,
Yet never partake of the treat --
Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargic and dull,
Pale ravener of horrible meat.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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