Sperm Whale & Giant Squid


Seychelles stamp depicting battle between
a Sperm Whale and Giant Squid

      I have a friend,
      A poet Whale who
      Witnessed wonders
      Heard-of in the ocean.
      A mighty Sperm
      Engaged a giant
      Archeteuthis Squid
      In mortal combat.
      It was a sight
      That doomed all nearby
      Watchers to survey
      From a safer distance.
      Their energies did multiply
      Two brutal powers
      Into one all total
      Tight entanglement.
      The Squid's forearms
      Were wrapped, one to a rocky ledge,
      The other to Sperm's head,
      Thrusting vicious jolts inward.
      Other tentacles
      Endeavored to entwine
      Our friend in bondage.
      Who was slightly stronger?

      The Cachelot could bite with perfect teeth
      Into Squid's soft head,
      Near brains delectable to eat.
      Mnnnn, Squid, his favorite dish.
      Squid's terrifying beak
      And bloody claws
      Were closing all around
      The Sperm Whale's body.
      Yet he didn't mind, nor worry
      For he had the situation
      In control, getting ready
      To bite the cephalopod in two.
      When suddenly, Squid lunged
      Forward by surprise,
      Lassoed his arms around the trunk,
      Tucking Sperm against a rock.
      "Yes/No, I'm caught", Sperm cried,
      And lashed with all his strength
      To free himself.
      Before too long he'd drown.
      With support from lesser arms,
      The Squid retrenched himself
      Securely to the cave,
      His home and daily dwell.

      Our Sperm friend panicked,
      Thrashed such wild spasms,
      He vomited,
      (most appalling one might tell).
      He used up twice his strength
      Badly needed for return.
      After all, he was six hundred
      Fathoms down below.
      Counting by the minutes,
      Merely fifteen did remain
      Before he would extinguish
      To the final dissolution.
      Surface mates and infants
      Heard his sonar ring
      In coded S.O.S's
      Useless cries brought no assistance.
      Air-reserves soon running out,
      He gathered thrice his wits
      And calculated a quick tactic
      That would pull Squid's arms away.
      He just surrendered, pretending
      To have died, deluding
      His adversary into thinking
      He was ready for the diner.

      But that bastard Squid
      Was just that smart
      To call a fake a failure.
      He knew life's ways and was very shrewd.
      This Whale, he thought
      Had more bubbles than
      The few flimsy bursts of air
      He was emitting.
      Why did he avoid the final struggle?
      That fateful wrench and lurch
      Famous of these Sperms
      Too proud to ever be so conquered.
      Thus the Squid held out
      And waited, after all
      He had time in his tentacles,
      To win this game and not to lose.
      The Whale fidgeted,
      Knowing he was beaten.
      So stupidly he pretended to come back
      To life which never ended.
      This was his last chance,
      By feigning he was rested.
      Now he lunged with all his power
      To place the jaw in bite with his opponent.

      It worked, the stronger forearm
      Was severed in two pieces,
      While our Whale sliced three chunks
      Out just like seaweed in the raw.
      Then he opened wide his mouth
      Over Squid's head, clamping
      Muscles with colossal force
      Against the eyes.
      The cephalopod was ravaged
      To the horror of a cripple,
      As doomed he was, he wanted
      To hold our friend some moments more.
      As both well knew,
      Several thousand feet to surface
      Took many moments
      Straight right up to life.
      Squid's beak cut the tail.
      The Whale burst back enraged
      In fatal glory,
      Both were fighting to their final doom.
      Just imagine what a risk
      It is to set your appetite
      Before the dreadful hunt begins,
      Then to watch yourself be hunted.

      "Dragons", thought the Sperm,
      As he rolled around the void
      Through mockeries of pain,
      Thrashing to be free.
      "Help me", he wailed.
      Life is now ending.
      His breathing was ceasing,
      Way down below.
      One last tug and he pulled away
      From the dying monster;
      He fled for the distant surface,
      Swimming on faith alone.
      His muscles quicken
      While he races straight upward
      To Light
      And to home.
      All his strength beats
      In fractions of seconds,
      Waiting to fill lungs
      Burning for air.
      At last, the only boundary
      Between life and death appears.
      BOOM! Our Sperm exhales the nitrogen,
      Then breathes in fresh salt-air.

      He drinks it in, panting, gasping
      For an easy breath,
      Shuddering along the surface, he wheezes,
      Taking droughts of oxygen.
      Mates escort him,
      Help him stay afloat
      While he gains normal breathing rhythm.
      Others keep him well supported.
      While he drinks and drinks the air,
      Gathering slow composure,
      Pretending to be proud
      Despite his recent trauma.
      Friends and wives
      Glance far around, knowing well
      Their famous Actor always acts
      Stronger than he really is,
      But hide their greater knowing
      In demure and friendly tones,
      Deferring to their Lord and Master
      With cultivated dignity.
      While He, stalwart and proud,
      Protector of zones, master to all,
      Macho in full, thrusts away, scarred,
      Tattered, nattered, naked, but Free.

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