The Shark

Isaac McLellan

(Carcharias glaucus.)
The seaboy sailing o'er the main,
   Far-gazing o'er the watery plain,
Sees oft the black fin of the shark
Pursuing his careering bark,
Quick thro' the ship the joyful news
   Like wildfire runs from stem to stern;
From bulwark high, from sloping mast,
   Leeward all eager glances turn.
The master seeks the massive hook
   With iron chain and hempen line,
And soon the baited snare is out
   Far trailing o'er the seething brine.
The greedy monster with a plunge
   Rushes to seize the tempting bait,
And, rolling on his dusky back,
   Gorges the hook and finds his fate.
Away in madden'd haste he flies,
   Lashing the wave with forked tail,
But 'gainst a score of tugging hands
   His desperate strength may naught avail.
Soon bleeding on the deck, a prize,
The ruthless ocean tyrant dies.
'Tis said in Indian seas remote,
   Off the white reef of Bengal Bay,
Cruises the great man-eater shark,
   Hungry and keen for human prey.
There Indian damsels dread to plunge
   In combing surf and curling wave,
Fearing that terror of sharp teeth,
   That jaw remorseless as the grave.
But brave the manly diver dares
   With sharpen'd creese to meet his foe,
And, plung'd beneath the lurking fiend,
   Stabs till the tides with slaughter flow.
So the swart diver for the pearl,
   Taught from his youth to search the deeps,
With keen blade meets him in the surf,
   And slays him wheresoe'er he sweeps.

Poems by This Author

The Bluefish by Isaac McLellan
It is a brave, a royal sport

Further Reading

Poems about Sharks
Angel Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Ants and Sharks
by Tomasz Rózycki
by Ernest Hilbert
At Shark Reef Sanctuary
by Eva Alice Counsell
Beach Walk
by Henri Cole
Coffee and Oranges
by Joel Brouwer
Flying Fish: An Ode [excerpt]
by Charles Wharton Stork
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?
by Robert Graves
In a Breath
by Carl Sandburg
Inheritance of Waterfalls and Sharks
by Martín Espada
Murray Dreaming
by Stephen Edgar
No Place Like Home
by Stephen Cushman
Ode on Dictionaries
by Barbara Hamby
Plague of Dead Sharks
by Alan Dugan
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Seal Lullaby
by Rudyard Kipling
Sharks in the Rivers
by Ada Limón
Sharks' Teeth
by Kay Ryan
Shoal of Sharks
by Richard O'Connell
Song of the Paddlers [excerpt]
by Herman Melville
Submarine Mountains
by Cale Young Rice
Summer [excerpt]
by James Thomson
The Bluefish
by Isaac McLellan
The Maldive Shark
by Herman Melville
The Ripple Effect
by Jamey Dunham
The Sea is History
by Derek Walcott
The Shark
by Lord Alfred Douglas
The Shark
by Judith Beveridge
The Shark
by William Henry Venable
The Shark's Parlor
by James Dickey
The Sharks
by Denise Levertov
The Sirens
by James Russell Lowell
The Steel Rippers
by Patricia Carlin
Tiger Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Untitled [There, by the crescent moon, the shark]
by Shido
Upon Shark
by Robert Herrick
What To Do About Sharks
by Vivian Shipley
White Sales
by Allen Grossman
World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman