Call Me Ishmael; volume 8

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 June 22, 2012

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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 Spirit-Spout
Chapter 51: The Spirit-Spout

How now, Fedallah, you give us a fright
Up on the mast-head at night --
If you're searching for misery,
You'll find it alright.

Seen in the moonlight a silvery spout,
And followed, we utter devout --
Tranced by our misery
And beckoned without.

All in good time you'll realize
That everything's white in the moonlight;
It's a trick of the night.

Birds beat the black air, relentlessly fleet;
Fish leap in tormented sea --
Trapped by their misery
And condemned to repeat.

Promise, exalted from deepest despair,
What else, a fountain so fair? --
It's only our misery
Finally laid bare.

All in good time you'll realize
That everything's white in the moonlight;
It's a trick of the night.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Midnight -- The Forecastle Bulwarks
Chapter 121: Midnight -- The Forecastle Bulwarks

I take a turn on the floor
To lash the anchors once more.
I don a gentleman's hat
And the coattails to match
'Cause they channel the storm.

And so I keep myself dry
But when the lightning comes by
It don't give me no pause
'Cause I've counted those odds
Like a sensible man.

And my flesh ain't the same as yesterday,
My mind's the same,
It never stays in the place I started from.

I'm a sensible man.
I'm a sensible man.
I see the cards in my hand,
And play them out as I can.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Nut
Chapter 80: The Nut

The phrenologist says, "You're gonna have to wait for a while --
The skull of this whale is buried twenty feet from its smile."

And I say, "Woe to the sailor; cheers to a stunning conceit --
So human is the notion that the head is the spiritual seat."

And you say, "Maybe in a monster renowned more for power than guile
The ghost in the machine lives in the high Roman forehead with style."

And I say, "With every minute, the character that's in it must rest
Upon a mighty flagpole -- the backbone's the answer to test."

Its vertebrae, close to the spigot
Equal the source in size, to the digit --
There resides a will, inflexible by its very design.

The phrenologist says, "You're gonna have to wait for a while --
The skull of this whale is buried twenty feet from its smile."

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Shark Massacre
Chapter 66: The Shark Massacre

'Round and 'round neither up nor down,
The teeth of sharks till a fertile ground.
An empty eye, a cold machine
Bites in reflexivity.

A giant whale, a mass deceived,
After sharks visit for a meal,
And strip each bone, and leave no meat,
Quite a thorough industry.

And even cut, a shark will eat
The entrails out of its own defeat,
And once consumed, the entrails leak
Back out of its misery.

Beware, young man, for death misleads,
A soulless shark still pursues its greed.
It snaps its jaws when thus subdued,
Pain fulfills it more than food.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin
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
Track Name: The Life-Buoy
Chapter 126: The Life-Buoy

Now off we sail to the cursed hunting grounds
Accompanied by the most unearthly sounds,
Baby seals, lost and found,
And their mothers searching 'round.

The first event in the dark preceding dawn,
A sudden death to the first advancing pawn.
Sunken men tell no tale,
And the life-buoy did fail.

And oh!, hide your look;
The day-to-day often took your breath
But no shudder shook
From abstractions of this book.

He tells the mate to replace the buoy lost
And though the mate knows that death is never crossed
And survived, never-mind,
Make that coffin float in kind.

And oh!, hide your look;
The day-to-day often took your breath
But no shudder shook
From abstractions of this book.

The carpenter is a forward-facing man;
He sees the task as a step-by-step demand.
Starbuck balks, the details bore,
And he ponders God once more.

And oh!, hide your look;
The day-to-day often took your breath
But no shudder shook
From abstractions of this book.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Gilder
Chapter 114: The Gilder

Narrator:
On and on,
The great golden sun
Gilds the vales and the hills like the heavens.

And on and on,
The sea rolls anon
How the grass in fields dip and leaven.

Ahab:
But 'round and around and around,
Our fortunes come tumbling down
Then raise to the peak of a crown,
Like the sea.

As cold is decayed from the warm,
The blessings come crossed by a storm
And orphan our floundering forms
In the sea.

Ahab's men:
Oh, give us a captain of woe
And we'll row and we'll row and we'll row,
And we'll face a magnificent foe
Such as He!

Starbuck and Stubb:
The sea coaxes me
To always believe
In the meadows
Of my old-fashioned home,
Like the gelding
Stretched in full gallop on.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Does the Whale's Magnitude Diminish? -- We He Perish?
Chapter 105: Does the Whale's Magnitude Diminish? -- We He Perish?

How now, Pliny, you imply diminishment
In fanciful data of yore.
The whale at present has grown with significance,
You misjudged greatly before.

Relentlessly,
Across the sea,
We hunt the whale for eternity,
But as reviled
For guts and guile,
The whale will never disappear.

How now, landsman, you argue extensively --
The whale will perish in full,
Just like bison, that man did exterminate
Down to the very last bull.

Relentlessly,
Across the sea,
We hunt the whale for eternity,
But as reviled
For guts and guile,
The whale will never disappear.

We are whalemen, and as such infallible
In all cetacious regards,
And nothing truer bespoke we with amity:
Extinction's not in the cards!

Extinction's not in the cards!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Pequod Meets the Bachelor
Chapter 115: The Pequod meets the Bachelor

Hooray!

Well, we're on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.

We're on our way;
Set the honest work aside for honest play.

Hooray!

Every cask is full, and then some --
The hold is overflowing!

Hard times for you?
We're sorry, we spoke not even knowing!

Hooray!

Thou art too damned jolly.
Head thee home if home is calling.
Get thee on your way --
That's all I really have to say.
Get thee on your way,
Hey, hey, hey.

Hooray!

When we're flush, we're flush --
Hop aboard, we'll treat you to a party.

White whale what?
Lighten up, you think you're such a smarty.

Well, we're on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.
(Thou art too damned jolly.)

Well, we're on our way;
Homeward! Cheer us on our victory day.
(Get thee home if home is calling.)

Hooray!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Ahab's Boat and Crew -- Fedallah
Chapter 50: Ahab's Boat and Crew -- Fedallah

Stand in the boat with a new leg.
Knee in the cleat, it's a new day.
Lifet up the lance, make it bloody,
All on one, not two legs.

And all men with two legs are but a hobbling wight
When thrown deep into the tangle of a dangerous fight.

Cover the deck with a new sheath.
Walking erect, would you believe?
He points at the whale as a brute thief
But never asks no relief.

And nobody's gonna give this Captain Ahab a boat
So he finances the crew that's gonna keep him afloat.

Wouldn't you know, heading the crew
Is the devil's due?
Wouldn't you know, dim as the dusk,
He's the devil's tusk?
Wouldn't you know, fevered in dreams
See we phantom things?
Wouldn't you know?
Wouldn't you know?

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Pitchpoling
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
Track Name: The Monkey-rope
Chapter 72: The Monkey-rope

Cannibals, cutting spades, sharks snapping free,
All tossed in the sea
With Queequeg and me.

Great consternation aloft and between,
Begun at the scene
And taken to mean

That islands exist only in our dreams,
Not reality,
And Fate can't prevent a slip.

Think it insurance, the danger is spread
To many a head,
And thus was I wed.

A monkey-rope fashioned and tied to my belt,
And tied to his belt,
Security felt

By none and by all simultaneously,
Bonded famously.
We feel one another's slips.

Stubb instituted this perilous plot
To rally our lot,
Though moral or not,

Just as Aunt Charity's temperance would do,
Encouraging through
Restrictive milieu.

But false institutions never lent
To our betterment.
We're tied by the bonds of men
To defend
The one at the risk of ten.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: All Astir
Chapter 20: All Astir

Think of the things a housekeeper brings to have, oh yeah!
Each item needed, nothing conceded, yeah?, oh yeah!

Think of the patience
To careful creations
Of pantries that never fail.

Aunt Charity!
Aunt Charity, oh yeah!

Think of the volume of stores used in three years' time, oh yeah!
Bother and beans, a housekeeper seems a bore, no more!

Think and be thankful
Of each sturdy ankle
That make wishes never want.

Aunt Charity!
Aunt Charity, oh yeah!

Charity's bounty
Could cover the county --
Everything far and wide!

Aunt Charity!
Aunt Charity, oh yeah!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Epilogue
Epilogue

Now but clipped of wing,
I circle 'round an empty scene
As if cradled in descent
By solitude.

Dirge of wandering,
Buoyed by a lost belief,
Irrevocable as all
Eternal vows.

Always a peace that lives between the punished
And the punisher, therein lies the defeat.

In the desert marked,
A signal to the world of sharks
That a punished man must live
To tell the tale.

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 how
He
Looms in the middle of it all
Spectacularly.

(c) and (p) 2008 Patrick Shea

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