Sunday, April 6, 2008


They've been used to profit
From years of traffic in men's desires
For which they've sailed the many seas
For which they've sacrificed their lives.

And all for what?

A Gold dubloon festooned upon a mast
That marked a value they could not measure?
Or perhaps these former schoolmasters
Fancied them masters instead of slaves.

But who ain't a slave? Tell me that.
What of it if some schoolmaster
Thumps and punches me and
Orders me to get a broom?
How if everyone is served in some such way
And the universal thump is passed around?

All hands should rub each-other's shoulder blades
And be content.

They have no cause for complaint, these
Grub-worms and Sub-subs,
For they have made their profit and ought
To count the pennies in their jars
Since no wine will ever warm them

Against the cold that can't help to come
Since the storm gathers
And presages a grand-hooded phantom,
Like a snow-hill in the air.

(image (c) copyright Justin Quinn, "Moby Dick Chapter 55 or 9200 times E")


Anonymous said...

That's great! "Sub-subs" got me - it's a sub-sub librarian, right? And what was the meaning of that, again? (I can't quite remember our Moby Dick classes - gasp!)

Anyway, I really do love your writing - it's an admirable gift.


gregorbo said...

Melville's take on the Sub-sub librarian, I think, is much more sympathetic than my speaker's here--but, If I have anything to say about it, that will be rectified soon. Stayed tuned. And thanks for your comments. Gregorbo