Chapter 84: Pitchpoling

There’s a well-worn joke about watching nature shows and rooting for the hunter if it’s a show about wolves, and villainizing the hunter if it’s a show about elk. Any fan of heist films knows that this phenomena holds true in the human realm as well, though not really when killing is involved (I don’t know of anyone watching Goodfellas and rooting for Joe Pesci). Similarly in nature, it’s hard to root for the hunter when the hunter is human. Even in the best of situations, for example when the human is hunting to feed his or her family, we tend to treat the necessary death of an animal with reverence rather than cheer.

So Stubb doesn’t come off very well in “Pitchpoling.” As Ishmael describes the technical prowess of a man who can accurately throw a whaling spade from a “violently rocking, jerking boat,” we briefly get caught up in the excitement of the feat, that is until we realize what the feat accomplishes. These whales flee with such “swift precipitancy” because they don’t want to die. As Stubb gleefully compares the blood he draws from the whale to wine, and merrily wishes they could gather around the wounds and drink, one can’t help feeling him barbarous. As the “agonized whale goes into his flurry,” and Stubb “mutely watches the monster die,” any remaining excitement over technical prowess vanishes, and we are left with nothing but a dead whale.

Chapter 84: Pitchpoling

How I love my daily grind.
How I love my daily grind.
Daily grind!

Whales that flee in agony,
Desperately to seek relief
That they won’t find.

Stretching taut a lengthy line
Out of reach but fixed in mind —
What a bind!

So I’ll pitchpole my way (Wait to see it!),
Pitchpole my way (You won’t believe it, now!),
Pitchpole my way, and kill me a whale —
He’ll suffer, hey, hey!

Staying out beyond the lance,
Whaley thinks he has a chance,
But there’s no chance!

Tossing out my sharpened love,
Death will reach him from above —
We’ll drink his blood.

Yeah, I’ll pitchpole my way (Wait to see it!),
Pitchpole my way (You won’t believe it, now!),
Pitchpole my way, and kill me a whale —
He’ll suffer, hey, hey!

How I love my daily grind.
How I love my daily grind.
Daily grind!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Words and music written by Patrick Shea August 16, 2010
All parts performed, arranged, and recorded by Patrick Shea July 18, 2011

Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://callmeishmael.org/2011/08/14/chapter-84-pitchpoling/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: