Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin

“What’s that he said — Ahab beware of Ahab — there’s something there!”

In a routine pumping of the hold, Starbuck discovers a good amount of oil mixed in with the pumped sea water, implying a significant leak in the casks. Unfortunately, Ahab is nearing the fishing grounds around Japan, and so nearing his fated encounter with Moby Dick, which leads him to refuse a pause in the voyage to repair the casks and save the oil.

Starbuck, of course, objects, and in the ensuing argument we see yet another recognition by Ahab of his own failing mental health. After Starbuck takes his leave of the cabin, Ahab paces awhile, then changes his mind in the matter, ascending to the deck to give orders for the crew to tend the leaky casks. Ahab’s motives remain a mystery as the chapter ends, but Ishmael offers two possibilities. For one, simply, “It may have been a flash of honesty in him.” Perhaps more likely, though, Ahab doesn’t want to seem crazy or otherwise unfit for duty, because that might lead to a justified mutiny, and so end his quest. In other words, Ahab is sane enough to foster his insanity in secrecy.

Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin

Leaky casks
In the Autumn of my voyage,
Never checked.
Leaky casks
In the hold of leaky vessel,
On and on.

Leaky casks
Lose in double-time what’s gathered
Tooth and nail,
And the ordinary thoughts we carry sink
In the sea.

When the sea fills the vacuum left behind,
Then the mind begins to weigh
And the spirit loses buoyancy.

Leaky casks,
Never thought I’d stop to fix them,
By and by,
But convincing me, my enemies are kind
Yet to me.

When the sea fills the vacuum left behind,
Then the mind begins to weigh
And the spirit loses buoyancy.

Leaky casks
In the Autumn of my voyage,
Never checked.
And the ordinary thoughts we carry sink
In the sea.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Words and music written by Patrick Shea August 17, 2010
All parts performed, arranged, and recorded by Patrick Shea July 21, 2011

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://callmeishmael.org/2011/09/18/chapter-109-ahab-and-starbuck-in-the-cabin/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: