A blue shark comes to investigate

Friday poem: The Shark

A blue shark comes to investigate
A blue shark comes to investigate

Carcharias glaucus is the blue shark. Isaac McLellan was a 19th century American poet, hence the slightly old fashioned perspective here…

The Shark – Isaac McLellan

(Carcharias glaucus.)

The seaboy sailing o’er the main,
Far-gazing o’er the watery plain,
Sees oft the black fin of the shark
Pursuing his careering bark,
Quick thro’ the ship the joyful news
Like wildfire runs from stem to stern;
From bulwark high, from sloping mast,
Leeward all eager glances turn.
The master seeks the massive hook
With iron chain and hempen line,
And soon the baited snare is out
Far trailing o’er the seething brine.

The greedy monster with a plunge
Rushes to seize the tempting bait,
And, rolling on his dusky back,
Gorges the hook and finds his fate.
Away in madden’d haste he flies,
Lashing the wave with forked tail,
But ‘gainst a score of tugging hands
His desperate strength may naught avail.
Soon bleeding on the deck, a prize,
The ruthless ocean tyrant dies.
‘Tis said in Indian seas remote,
Off the white reef of Bengal Bay,
Cruises the great man-eater shark,
Hungry and keen for human prey.
There Indian damsels dread to plunge
In combing surf and curling wave,
Fearing that terror of sharp teeth,
That jaw remorseless as the grave.
But brave the manly diver dares
With sharpen’d creese to meet his foe,
And, plung’d beneath the lurking fiend,
Stabs till the tides with slaughter flow.
So the swart diver for the pearl,
Taught from his youth to search the deeps,
With keen blade meets him in the surf,
And slays him wheresoe’er he sweeps.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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