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Poems

John Marr and Others Sailors

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.

 

l. 2: Maldive sea: an area of the Indian Ocean surrounding the Maldive Islands, which are located southwest of the southern tip of India.

l. 8: Gorgonian: refers to Gorgon of Greek mythology, whose head was covered with snakes and whose gaze turned the onlooker to stone.