The Legend of the White Whale: Part Three (penultimate)


White skinned Chizue did not sleep, toiled under every flicker of light. 
From her lover’s hut, she crafted with calloused hands a hunting boat.
Dark as the night, it reeked of fresh death, tarnishing slender sides
the unholy varnish made everyone sick, leaving Red Eyed Chizue immune.

Alone she went. A death dirge bade farewell, as the fog folded around her boat.
Long Sight Chizue braved the high tides night and day, brow-beaten and tempting fate.
She Who invites watched her sweat from the toil of challenging the sea’s broil.

In a patch of foaming water, Stone Soul Chizue saw the shimmering tail. 
Splashing, before a quivering wail shook the boat’s sails. Knuckles turned white.
Then a hail of bone rattles. It cruised under the hull. Such fright!
Eyes widened at the ghostly sight, of what? A flowing skeleton-whale!

The Legend of the White Whale–wow, what a poem to write! There is so much going on in the finished version that it embodies a lumbering, legendary whale; too large to put into one post, to say the very least!

This Epic is ‘from the archives’, a category that includes any ‘hidden gems’ that have been written and promptly forgotten about. Some have been languishing in my computer files for quite a while, so they might be…as less refined…as some of my much recent works. However, with a bit of spit and polish, most of these ‘from the archive’ poems can be brought back up to good form.

Anyway, back to the Epic! So, backstory: The poem was written at the start of my second-year studies, where I was frequently exposed to mythology, folklore, and legends. For those who know me well, I was totally in my element. My tutor also motivated us (the students) to re-write old literature, so that’s what I did to these fairy-tales!

Original artwork by Dread Lévi Studios (Twitter: @EdRohkovaWelch)

The narrative of the poem is quite simple: It’s Moby Dick, but re-set in Medieval Japan, pitting a vengeful heroine against the mythical Bake-kujira–the ghost whale. The mythos surrounding the ghost whale is quite interesting, so if you want to know more about this Spirit I’ve attached a link to its (disappointingly short) Wikipedia article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bake-kujira

I’ve tried my hardest to respect the original mythos surrounding both Moby Dick and Bake-kujira, while constructing something new. If notice any references or Easter Eggs, let me know below!

The FINAL part of this Epic will be published next Tuesday at 8am!


© Thomas Gallimore Barker, 2021

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