Call Me Ishmael; volume 1

by Patrick Shea

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about

Buy the book at: www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-shea/call-me-ishmael/paperback/product-20300323.html

In the summer of 2008, Brooklyn elementary school teacher and musician Patrick Shea set two goals for himself—to read Moby-Dick, and to write a song every day for two months. Those two goals quickly merged to become to beginning of the Call Me Ishmael project. Three years later, Shea had written, recorded, and blogged about all 135 chapters of Moby-Dick, plus the epilogue.

The book contains the lyrics to all 136 songs from the project, along with free downloads of all 8 volumes of music. The book also includes an introduction to the project as a whole, and an afterword for each volume of songs, written by the author.

Some responses to the project:

"Patrick Shea’s highly imaginative, wide-ranging song cycle takes us chapter-by-chapter through Moby-Dick. Shea’s innovative, haunting lyrics share the fecundity and suggestiveness of Melville’s dazzling novel."
--David Reynolds, Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center

"There is music in Moby-Dick because Melville put it there. But there is another kind of music that comes from readers who, once they have read Moby-Dick, simply have to sing. Lucky, then, that we have Patrick Shea whose clever, amusing, stirring, happy, sad songs do not attempt to retell Melville's classic story but give added musicality and life to Melville's thought."
--John Bryant, Editor of the Melville Society and Professor of English at Hofstra University

"Patrick Shea’s songs are deeply insightful responses to Melville’s masterpiece. They illuminate the power of Moby-Dick and enrich our experience of that remarkable novel. Shea understands that, at its heart, Moby-Dick is an orchestral work. Its chords resonate throughout Shea’s lyrics."
--Bill Kelly, President of the CUNY Graduate Center

credits

released January 1, 2009

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about

Patrick Shea Brooklyn, New York

Patrick is a nerd, a book lover, a math afficianado, an Ishmael, and an Ahab. He lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters. He grew up in Portland, OR; and has also lived in Grinnell, IA (for college); and Austin, TX.

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Track Name: Loomings
Chapter 1: Loomings

Oh, the many morbid things
That the Fates obliquely sing
To the poets
Through a man come tumbling down.

You can call me Ishmael,
May the Muse speak through me well,
As I sing to you
The world's most principle song.

And were you
Lost in your deepest thoughts
Where need you be
But the ocean?
And so my story goes.

As a wounded Narcissus
The ocean gives to us
A reflection
An inflection of the deep.

And were you
Lost in your deepest thoughts
Where need you be
But the ocean?
And so my story goes.

And how
He
Looms in the middle of it all
Spectacularly.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Lee Shore
Chapter 23: The Lee Shore

Your solemn eyes survive
As howled lullabies
By the hearthstone, in its comfort.
A ground to firmly stand.

There's nothing to it!
It's a safety dance.
When the weather's fair,
Do the Lee Shore!

But when the storm arrives,
Turn your keel to sea.
The immensity is your safest bet
To find a better way.

There's nothing to it!
Preconception's fine.
When the sky is bright,
Do the Lee Shore!

There's nothing to it!
When the tempest comes,
Let your soul roam free
From the Lee Shore!

There's nothing to it!
There's a higher truth.
If you break the chains
Of the Lee Shore!

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Carpet-Bag
Chapter 2: The Carpet-Bag

The universe is made,
And it's too late to make an improvement.
I shiver on the street;
I see all happiness from the outside.

Maybe I've been longing to come
From out of the darkness,
From out of the cold.
I've never had the money you got
To be on the inside,
To find me a home.

A pity we were made
With fragile bodies to be sheltered.
A pity that a man
Has to find a way to be sheltered.

Maybe I've been longing to come
From out of the darkness,
From out of the cold.
I've never had the money you got
To be on the inside,
To find me a home.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Counterpane
Chapter 4: The Counterpane

Now he's hugging me,
Oh, so lovingly;
I woke up in Queequeg's embrace!
Like a brother, pagan other
In my bed.

It reminds me of when I was but a child,
I once fell asleep
And woke with a phantom's limb
Hand in hand with me.

He's considerate,
Though not literate --
Politeness must be innate,
Like a patchwork of decorum
And disgrace.

And for all of my high civil breeding
I have to admit,
I stared on quite rudely
Through Queequeg's strange toilet.

So he shaves his face
With a harpoon blade --
A savagely civilized art!
He's a darkness, with a
Civilizing heart.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Spouter-Inn
Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn

There's a painting in the tavern, obscured,
As a token for the rest of the world.
In the soot and in the grime,
In the ravages of passing time,
Stand we still, constructing a purpose.

Of the masses, of the shadows and shades,
In the chaos, in the purposes made --
In the center a parody,
Though in full sublimity,
All transfixed by a failure of meaning.

And so is man
A shrouded reason,
Lost in the
Majestic reaches
Of his share of total unknowing.

There's a stranger in the tavern with me,
Stands as other, contrasted naturally.
In a moment I understand
At the center this fellow man
Shares my darkness, and we can sleep easy.

And so is man
A shrouded reason,
Lost in the
Majestic reaches
Of his share of total unknowing.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Sperm Whale's Head -- Contrasted View
Chapter 74: The Sperm Whale's Head -- Contrasted View

A one track mind,
Baby's got a one track mind.
A killer's eyes,
Keep ‘em on a narrow line.

A purposeful mind
Because a purposeful physiology.
The eyes define
The front of a man, don't you see?

You're always right,
Never seeing side to side.
You got big eyes,
Still you never see both sides.

Enlarging your mind
But what you really need is subtlety,
Conflating a dual view
To consciousness.

Don't you realize
Your half-blind maliciousness?
Monomania:
It's arithmetic.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: A Bosom Friend
Chapter 10: A Bosom Friend

My Christian concern for you
Has melted, noble savage.
In you I see the world that Christ desired.

A wolfish, hollow courtesy;
My ship has run aground
On the shallow, rocky shelf of Heaven's shores.

God bless your savage heart,
Without corruption, malediction,
Or the grand deceits that split our brotherhood.

To join your idolatry,
In faithful unity,
Should make God happier than sweeping you aside.

Here I am,
Half a Judas,
A bosom friend.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish
Chapter 89: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish

Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish,
Anything that's free is yours to want!
Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish --
A person, place, or thing, it doesn't matter.

It isn't small coincidence:
Possession is the full of the law.
Who can stop the powerful
From taking some or taking it all?
Wait and see!

Fast-Chicks and Loose-Chicks,
You cut your woman free, she's there to take!
Fast-Chicks and Loose-Chicks,
Harpoon that little lady and ride her wake!

And what is Southern slavery?
Possession is the full of the law!
And what's a thieving archbishop?
Power is the rule of the law!
You can see!

But how was America a Loose-Fish
In the time of Columbus?
When Russia took Poland,
Or the Turk took Greece?
And what are the rights of man but a Loose-Fish?
(There for the taking!)
But not land for Duke of Dunder's oldest son.
(The law's for the victors!
The law's for the victors!)

Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish
Anything at all is theirs to want.
Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish --
A person, place, or thing, it's so convenient!

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Chart
Chapter 44: The Chart

Reshape the tides and eddies,
Harpoon standing at the ready.

A single intent and purpose,
A point of such gravity,
Bends light, and so perception --
The real world is just perception.

So I'll say what I say,
And you do what you do,
'Cause I've charted the patterns of me and you,
And it's all going to come back to a point of truth.

I dreamed the very moment,
A point of such gravity.

So I'll say what I say,
And you do what you do,
'Cause I've charted the patterns of me and you,
And it's all going to come back to a point of truth.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Queequeg in his Coffin
Chapter 110: Queequeg in his Coffin

Make your peace with death,
Your peace with death,
Your peace with death, Oh
Your peace with death,
And then come alive
For the rest of your days.

Listen to me:
I want to tell you 'bout a man
Who came to his endless end, Whoa!
He threw his arms around the great
Testament.
He had us build a coffin,
Sound in every way,
And he stepped into the rest of his days.

Make your peace with death,
Your peace with death,
Your peace with death, Oh
Your peace with death,
And then come alive
For the rest of your days.

Let me tell you, now:
The man he had his coffin filled
With all of his Earthly needs, Whoa!,
And put his body with the like
Accessories.
He took his god, Yojo,
And held him to his heart,
And he rose again, a purity apart.

Make your peace with death,
Your peace with death,
Your peace with death, Oh
Your peace with death,
And then come alive
For the rest of your days.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Ship
Chapter 16: The Ship

Yojo sent me to find a ship!
Yojo sent me to find a ship!

Oh, Yojo, did you send me to the Pequod?
Oh, Yojo, did you send me to Ahab?

Nothing could seem more wise
Than the wrinkles 'round Pelig's eyes.

Oh, Pelig, won't you tell me what whaling is?
Oh, Pelig, it's a right ferocious accident!

To see the world from a whaler
Is just lookin' at water, sailor.

And he despises those merchant ships!
And he disguises old Ahab's tics.

We'll sign you on, young fellow,
But first give our other owner a hello.

How could a Quaker kill a whale?
Bildad? Captain Bildad, can't you say?
You read the scriptures every day!
How far ye got?

So sign on for a 300th lay my son (you're a lucky one!),
And bring your mysterious harpooner friend along (he's a-welcome on!).
The Pequod will be your final home.
The Pequod will take you to your home.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Symphony
Chapter 132: The Symphony

Remember.
Remember.
Remember when I was a boy?
I was a boy.
I was a boy.
I was a boy when I first killed a whale.

For forty…
For forty…
For forty years I fought the…
I fought the…
I fought the…
I fought the dark portentous…

Here's a motion,
A decision
Of devotion.
It's a choice,
But here am I blind:
How do I know it's mine?

And now I…
And now I…
And now I weep into the sea.
The sea has…
The sea has…
The sea has finally felt the soul of me.

Who makes the…
Who makes the…
Who makes the hunter kill the lamb?
The lamb is…
The lamb is…
The lamb is never peaceful but apprised.

Here's a motion,
A decision
Of devotion.
It's a choice,
But here am I blind:
How do I know it's mine?

I was a boy.
I was a boy.
I was a boy when I first killed a whale.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Specksynder
Chapter 33: The Specksynder

The bigger the pomp, the lesser the leader --
Compensatory trappings, you know?
An officer's supremacy
Is idiot supremacy, whoa!

The harpooneer gets to sleep by the captain,
But he's not called an officer, no!
He's just set apart
So the men will heed his art.

On a whaling ship, there's a shared interest --
You see, we're all working,
And there is no rank
'Til a whale is on the planks
'Cause men are men alike in reason.

Oh, oh Ahab, you're the truth,
'Cause you never play the emperor
But you still stand apart.
What shall be
Grand in thee
Must needs be plucked at
From the skies, and dived for in the deep!

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: His Mark
Chapter 18: His Mark

Harpoon the mast,
And sign those papers fast!
Old Peleg's sharp --
Had Quohog make his mark.

Signed a charm
That was tattooed on his arm
And now he's with the crew,
Despite that devil's blue.

Young cannibal,
Your hell awaits in full.
Avast ye, man!
A harpooneer's not a man

To be saved
Laying whales in their graves --
Give to darkness now,
Standing in the prow.

You could never do it so well,
Knowing Jesus sees it.

Religion's fine,
And death will come in time,
But pious men,
They lose the shark in them.

Made His mark
In the everlasting dark
Found in every man
With harpoon in hand.

You could never do it so well,
Knowing Jesus sees it.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Stubb and Flask kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him
Chapter 73: Stubb and Flask kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him

Shadows long to the starboard side,
Are we charmed to perdition?
And ain't the devil proof
Of deeper meaning?

See the weight of commerce pull,
Balanced only by murder.
And see the balance
Threaten to whelm us.

There's a storied governor
Made a deal with the devil,
So one's infected now
And all will perish.

Blessed by the inspiration
Of holy-rolling,
We're doomed to watch the nation
Go down, down, down.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Fountain
Chapter 85: The Fountain

Oh, Believer or Infidel?
Oh, Believer or Infidel?

Not for a want of science --
Oh, perception isn't half enough!
And not for a want of prophets --
Oh, mysticism's imprecise!

Oh, will we ever understand
The mysteries of nature's hand?

We can't tell the difference --
Is it water or is it air?
The spout is of significance
As an observable phenomenon.

Yeah, these creatures of the deep
Are filled with the profundity
Of the Heavens and the Earth,
Whoa, whoa!

So you can't get very close,
To study or experiment --
It once burned a man to the quick!
Whoa, whoa!

Oh, was it hubris that struck him down,
Or unfathomable nature, now?
Oh, Believer or Infidel?
Oh, Believer or Infidel?
Regard them with an equal eye!

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Blacksmith
Chapter 112: The Blacksmith

Find me the mercy of evasion,
My only testament taken
Upon the desolate sea,
The only merciful.

Beat with a stoical compassion:
I'll bring my hammer to you,
I'll bring my hammer to you.

Launch from everything tried;
Cast the living world aside.
It's a fully sheltered lee,
But how could you?

Ode to the infinite and drifting --
By possibility lured.

'Cause it happened.
Oh, 'cause it happened,
My hammer patiently beats.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Try-Works
Chapter 96: The Try-Works

The sun shows the ocean,
A two-thirds of darkness.
And what more to man than that he realize
His two-thirds of darkness just the same?

Turn from the fire
With hand on the helm.
Tomorrow the sun will light those demons,
And show the honest face of man.

Truth in your sorrows
When lit from your mirth.
As eagles would fly into canyons
And live to soar above the peaks,
The canyons do soar above the lowlands
And birds who shun their majesty.

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Sunset
Chapter 37: Sunset

Bask gently
In the melody,
Oh sailors
Of the sea!

The Almighty
God above
Knows just
What you'll be.

Good sailors,
Come with me.
We'll bring Him
To His knees.

God brings us down,
Leaving with one final stroke
Upon the everyday crown
Of the man he made, certain
To be everything.

Take pleasure
In the melody,
Oh heavens
Of the deep!

You struck me,
But I come again,
Now bearing
My teeth.

You bring us down
And then you hide in the smoke
Above the factory ground.
You lose yourself if you ever lose me!
If you ever lose me!

© and ℗ 2009 Patrick Shea