Inspired Folly

How inspiring was Ahab, and how inspired,
like a blacksmith hammering his will upon the sea
as well as upon the hearts of the men he had hired
to work his vessel as he sought his enemy.

He was a master wizard in a captain’s guise,
a leader born to take charge of other men,
steeping them in the vainglorious enterprise
of hunting down the albino leviathan.

What a madness was stamped upon him—
a feverish fury forged from fickle fate,
his leg having been taken by the cruel whim
of some trickster god for mirth of bait.

And to think, his lost leg should so doom
not only Ahab to join it down below
in the salty depths, but all those whom
entrusted themselves to his manic undertow.

He made such a defiant last stand,
propelled by the lingering phantom pain
as he clutched the wheel with a steady hand
and steered his ship, and himself, insane.

So many bodies dragged down to the depths,
like Fallen Angels slain in war with God,
cast from great heights as extinguished seraphs
for the pride of Ahab and the doomed Pequod.