Call Me Ishmael; volume 6

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 November 6, 2011

All parts written, performed, and recorded by Patrick Shea.

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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: The Needle
Chapter 124: The Needle

You sent me head over heels,
Lost in the peals of my
Heart as it reels.

Sailed headlong into the storm --
Nothing could warn me off you.

Oh, lightning but only strikes once!
Oh, lightning but only strikes in paradise!

My compass pointed me East,
On to defeat your
Magnetic retreat.

Proud compass spun me anew,
Shocked into running from you.

Oh, lightning but only strikes once!
Oh, lightning but only strikes in paradise!

Natural deceit turned me far from thee,
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah; ah, ah, ah, ah!
What a great relief, the sun, so indiscreet,
A fiery wrecking ball.

Now, with a sleight of the hand,
I turn where I stand
In magnetic demand.

Once more, faced into the wind,
Nothing could keep me from you.

Oh, lightning but only strikes once!
Oh, lightning but only strikes in paradise!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Surmises
Chapter 46: Surmises

Our purpose clear; it has begun,
But for every tool you count beneath the sun,
Only mankind's opposition,
From his fickle disposition,
Needs a careful kind of maintenance on the way.

We'll fight lick for lick,
We'll kill Moby Dick,
But we're gonna pick old Neptune's pockets
All along the way!
Our pious delight
Too far from our sight,
So we'll think about the money for today.

And not the least on Ahab's mind
Is the joy he reaps from killing Moby's kind.
Though he has a wife in token,
He is married to the ocean,
And he skips upon the waves of blood he laid.

We'll fight lick for lick,
We'll kill Moby Dick,
But we're gonna pick old Neptune's pockets
All along the way!
Our pious delight
Too far from our sight,
So we'll think about the money for today.

Our purpose clear, off in the distance
Swims a holy fish we seek with great insistence,
But that's many months in coming,
So for now the ship is running
Off the fuel of material desire.

We'll fight lick for lick,
We'll kill Moby Dick,
But we're gonna pick old Neptune's pockets
All along the way!
Our pious delight
Too far from our sight,
So we'll think about the money for today.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Nightgown
Chapter 11: Nightgown

The world is far away, oh!, far away
And my friend's near.
Underneath a blanket, oh!, with a friend
That I hold dear.

But our warmth would not exist without the cold,
As our loneliness, without someone to hold!
I'm glad I've got my friend!

Intertwine our legs, oh!, and our race
Is oh so clear,
But what is in our race, oh!, but a contrast
When two are near?

Well, at least we're here together, heart to heart!
Many others choose to live apart!
I'm glad I've got my friend!

Oh, our warmth would not exist without the cold,
As our loneliness, without someone to hold!
I'm glad I've got my friend!

The world is far away, oh!, far away
And my friend's near.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Dying Whale
Chapter 116: The Dying Whale

Oh!, heed the compass of dying whales,
Thick in their blood, passing life away,
Spin in the ocean the ocean upon their tails
To glance the living sun!

I'm nursed at sea!
Darkness buoys me!

Round and round, interceding jest,
A dance for the life-giving median,
A chance offered once at a god's request
But not upon your death.

I'm nursed at sea!
Darkness buoys me!

Know you that after your begging breaths,
You turn full around to the obvious?
Banked in the passage of living breath
Undone, condensed as one!

I'm nursed at sea!
I'm nursed at sea!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Fossil Whale
Chapter 104: The Fossil Whale

Big as it is, the whale is a fertile theme,
Varied and antediluvian,
The sea held a brand of Leviathan
Before time carried the Earth.

Born on the depths of a primal mist,
Nursed with the reptiles-furious,
Ruled under ice caps and equatorial freeze --
Hard to believe!

And what I'm trying to say, now,
There's a subtle line
Between the scale of the subject
And the thoughts brought to the mind.

Reach, yet, the distance of ancient lands,
Prior to Moses in Pharaoh's hands.
Touch ye the blood of Cetacean prehistory,
With Ahab and me!

And what I'm trying to say, now,
There's a subtle line
Between the scale of the subject
And the thoughts brought to the mind.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Mat-Maker
Chapter 47: The Mat-Maker

Lazing on a cloudy afternoon,
While away the minutes, weaving.
Working at the warp of Time,
Summoning a life of my own dealing.

And chance drives the ribbon!
And chance drives the ribbon!
And chance drives the ribbon askew!

Then, by simple happenstance,
The mast-head cried, our destiny remembered.
Hop to stations, one, two, three,
Choice at bay, and free-will fully censured.

So chance drives the ribbon!
So chance drives the ribbon!
So chance drives the ribbon askew!

More than one way,
More than one way through,
More than one way through necessity!

We see it in the whale, as well;
He spouts with regularity, intriguing.
But beneath the surface he's
Free to follow any path he's leading.

But chance drives the ribbon!
But chance drives the ribbon!
Oh chance drives the ribbon askew!
Oh chance drives the ribbon askew

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Stowing Down and Clearing Up
Chapter 98: Stowing Down and Clearing Up

We walk in twos and threes:
How we promenade the well-trod boards,
As dainty Lords, immaculate.
Though oft maligned, we're oft refined
By the guts and grime we scrub away.

Bring us midnight tea:
And the forecastle will be transformed
By highest born nobility.
We work and slave, and earn our days
To dab with napkins, so effete!

Sing-out, mast-head, sing!:
Aristocracy in truest form
Is never worn in apathy.
In weary pacts, we break our backs,
Then birth, as phoenix, from the lye.

We walk in twos and threes:
How we promenade the well-trod boards,
As dainty Lords, immaculate.
Though oft maligned, we're oft refined
By the guts and grime we scrub away.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Queen Mab
Chapter 31: Queen Mab

Listen to me, Flask, a curious thing
Came to me as advice in last night's dream.
Ahab kicked me with his ivory leg,
Then his base widened to a pyramid.

I had a night to be
Alone, steeped in a wondrous dream.
Rise, oh, Queen Mab, arise,
And hush each of our players' sighs!

So I kicked his geometric strength
As I thought to myself at some great length --
He didn't kick me with a living foot . . .
It matters. It matters!

I had a night to be
Alone, steeped in a wondrous dream.
Rise, oh, Queen Mab, arise,
And hush each of our players' sighs!

Then a merman came to lecture me
On the blessed abuse of royalty --
Every kick from Ahab makes you wise,
And at least he didn't kick with common pine!

I had a night to be
Alone, steeped in a wondrous dream.
Rise, oh, Queen Mab, arise,
And hush each of our players' sighs!

Rise, oh, Queen Mab, arise,
And hush each of our players' sighs!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: First Night-Watch
Chapter 39: First Night-Watch

We'll drink tonight with hearts as light,
To loves as gay and fleeting
As bubbles that swim, on the beaker's brim,
And break on the lips while meeting.

The captain's spite did fill the night
With terrors yet revealed.
Unfortunate gaffe, so let's have a laugh,
And hope that his head is healed.

I never foresaw such a good guffaw
From something so unnerving,
But destiny wins what our fate begins,
And life goes on, unswerving.

He gave the first mate an appropriate,
Unsettled sort of feeling,
Just as I felt when the man did pelt
Me, sending me a-reeling!

I'm perfectly sane, but a merman came,
Bestowed me of a title.
A laugh, now, to dub the wisest Stubb
And save him from reprisal.

Never my wife, in her lonely life,
To cry and count my earnings.
She's having some beers with the harpooneers,
And comforting their yearnings.

Every man shored to a higher lord,
Beholden to his bidding,
"Curses and balls!" Aye, it's Starbuck calls,
I must see what he's giving.

We'll drink tonight with hearts as light,
To loves as gay and fleeting
As bubbles that swim, on the beaker's brim,
And break on the lips while meeting.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Deck
Chapter 127: The Deck

Carpenter:
Sha na na na na!
No need to sing, the tools are ringing in song!
Sha na na na na!
But digging a grave, you bring the ditty along . . .
Still, indifferently, I cradle death, undone.

Sha na na na na!
I do as I do, you say to do it, it's done!
Sha na na na na!
There on the way, I needs be having some fun!
And in courting laughter, bathe in tempers won.

Ahab:
A sounding board in the house of the dead --
Echoes untoward!
Hold now, opine -- every vector a straight line
Paired with this force!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Cistern and Buckets
Chapter 78: Cistern and Buckets

How the tragedy came to pass, don't ask me, now.
A heave of the sea, or the slippery, hypnotic prow,
Once a living device, now eighty buckets of paradise,
Sent him fully within the cavern of fibrous skin.

And then fallen away,
The head buckled and swayed,
As old ocean eloped
With young death on a rope --
Alarum now awoke!

No umbilical, turned the womb into a precious tomb,
And so buried twice, once in a fragrant room,
Then, in the infinite ocean of epithet --
Savage sunk in a savage beast, under savage moon.

And then, out for the save,
The midwife of the waves,
With caesarian drowned,
Birthed the man by the crown,
And broke the burial mound.

Wherein the mystique?
A death, bittersweet,
Claims curious life
In sweet essences rife
With unbroken form!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Midnight, Forecastle
Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle

As the drunk wore off,
Found ourselves face to face with nature, crossed,
Found ourselves reckoning with peace, not lost
But conceded by the crew.

As the ballroom lee
Closed with an echoing finality,
And every dream of women chased recedes,
We brace up to meet the storm!

Of all things, great and small,
It's the bending that relieves
The strain of pitch and yaw,
It's the ultimate belief
In nothing, not all all,
That engenders our survival, oh!

Reef the topsails now,
And reef your hearts, and steer your steady prow,
And kneel to thunder, and to lightning, bow,
With a kind felicity!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Line
Chapter 60: The Line

From the bow, to the far aft end,
Where you loop it 'round that post, my friend,
And then up the middle, touching every hand,
Ahh-oop! We're back again!

Now to the notch in the pointed prow,
Let it droop a little, down across the bow,
Coil a loop into the box for now
And then tie it to the harpoon, pow!

Each man sitting in a noose --
It's a funny feeling!
Precarious and quite perverse,
But it's life, it's every life.

Do your job in the counting house,
It's still a noose if you smile or grouse,
Or sitting quiet by the fire, I'd rather be you,
But you're still in a noose.

Each man sitting in a noose --
It's a funny feeling!
Precarious and quite perverse,
But it's life, it's every life.

Always threatened by the perils, love,
Of this mortal world, though you push or shove,
Or if you tiptoe around with new kid gloves,
Or you pray to the Lord above.

So, take advice from the lofty stacks,
And never worry, never watch your backs.
You'll never know it 'til you feel the ax,
So relax! You have to relax!

Each man sitting in a noose --
It's a funny feeling!
Precarious and quite perverse,
But it's life, it's every life.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Biographical
Chapter 12: Biographical

Oooh, Kokovoko!

Think of an island, far away (Kokovoko!),
Lavished with splendors of a bygone day (Kokovoko!).
You left it with the dreams of a child,
You thought you'd only leave for a while, but now
You're far away from home.

Left with a purpose of high intent,
To bring every subject enlightenment,
To lift every dream of the land you hold so dear.
Corrupted in the very act,
A folly in your noble pact, and now
You're far away from home.

Think of an island, far away (Kokovoko!),
Lavished with splendors of a bygone day (Kokovoko!).
Someday, you will leave the Christians,
And make it to your island again, but now
You're far away from home!

Oooh, Kokovoko!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Whale as a Dish
Chapter 65: The Whale as a Dish

Eat! Eat your delicacy,
Gourmand, eat the best-tasting things.
I'll teach you now (I'll teach you right now!),
How to love (The brains of a cow!):

Step one, break the head of a calf;
Step two, mix the flour by half;
Cook it up (I'm already salivating!),
And eat it up (Your mind is so stimulating!).

But the whale is a curious thing!
To big to be appetizing!
So barbecue up for the king, a porpoise tonight!
A porpoise tonight!

Baby, what you doin' in this meat-market,
Being eyed up and down by every cannibal in town?
Find someone that will treat you right --
Come with me, and I'll teach you how to eat!

Step one, nail a duck to the floor;
Step two, feed it fat more and more;
The liver bloats (I'm already salivating!);
Thus, I emote (Your flavor is devastating!).

But the whale is a curious thing!
To big to be appetizing!
So barbecue up for the king, a porpoise tonight!
But don't eat by it's light,
No, not tonight!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Chowder
Chapter 15: Chowder

Hold, my friend, lest the chowder relent!
Call to the kitchen for another bowl of this remedy
For pessimism!

I saw the world with an ominous bent,
Until such time as my gullet could vent the sweet relief,
This precious steaming.

Arrived today with a curious sway --
Nantucket does boast of The Try-Pots, with it's savory brine
Bubbling all the time.

But what sweet things at the gallows of hell,
To lift my soul from its habit of feeling old delights
With fearful leanings.

The sweetest clams you've ever tasted in your life,
Touched with salt-pork in a bubbly broth of paradise!

I count myself in a fortunate bed,
Touched in the stomach but not in the head, to pleasantly
Await the morrow.

The landlady asked what to put in my dish
To break my fast, with the heartiest wish to satisfy,
I'm doubly now enticed.

The sweetest clams you've ever tasted in your life,
Touched with salt-pork in a bubbly broth of paradise!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Stubb kills a Whale
Chapter 61: Stubb kills a Whale

La, la, la.
La, la, la.

Seen a squid 'bout a million times,
The spermaceti ain't far behind.

Drift along in a placid sea,
Slumbering in fraternity.

Lounging up to the surface, tan,
Calm, in sync with the hearts of man,

But how quickly those hearts can change
With a dollar in killing range.

Everybody could feel it --
Hushed encounters, anon.
Everybody could feel it.

Nonchalantly, we glide in chase,
Holding back to his languorous pace.
Anybody could see us, now,
Coming closer.

Suddenly, with a casual surge,
The flukes went high and the whale submerged.

Stubb replied with a pensive smoke,
A plain disguise for the lust awoke.

Everybody could feel it --
Hushed encounters, anon.
Everybody could feel it.

With a cry from the savage race,
Oars in furious, pounding chase.
Blood reflected on each man, now,
Coming closer.

Now a flurry, a punctured heart,
A calm again from the killer's dart.

There he scatters the ashes thin,
Where the wonders of life had been.

La, la, la.
La, la, la.

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea

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