There She Blows!

Lo, as the sun from his ocean bed rising
Wide o'er the water his glitt'ring beam throws,
Hark! from the masthead a voice cheer'ly crying,
"Hard on our lee-beam, a whale there she blows!"

Call up your sleepers then, larboard and starboard men,
Main yard a-back and your boats lower away,
Broad on our lee-beam, see the white water gleam,
Wreathing its foam in a garland of spray!

Lo, the leviathan in vastness is lying,
Making the ocean his voluptuous bed;
While o'er and around him the sea birds are flying,
Dark, foaming billows dash over his head.

Now each man watch with care, there goes his flukes in air;
Slowly but stately he sinks in the main.
Now peak your oars a while, rest from your weary toil,
Waiting and watching his rising again.

Now row, hearties, row as you love your salvation;
Row, hearties, row, let your reeking sweat flow.
Give to your blood a free circulation,
Bend to your oars, lads, give way all you know.

Now see each boat advance, eager to gain first chance,
Fleeting like shadows o’er the blue main.
"Stand up an' give him some, send both your irons home;
Cheerily stern all, trim the boat, give him the line."

Gallied and sore, fins and flukes in commotion,
Blackskin and boats are cleaving the spray,
While long, loud, and shrill winds his pipe o'er the ocean,
Frightened, bewildered, he brings to in dismay.

Now haul line, every man, gather in all you can,
As lances and spades from your thwarts clear away.
Now take your oars again, each and every man
As safely and surely we hold him in play.

The power of man o'er the king of the ocean
Is shown by the end when we gain our desire;
For a lance in his life creates a commotion.
Slowly he sinks with his chimney on fire.

Hear now the glad shout, from each and every seaman out,
Matching the billow's most turbulent roar.
From his spouthole on high, see the red signal fly.
Slowly he dies and the battle is o'er.

From Roll and Go by Joanna Carver Colcord (1924)