Thursday, October 4, 2018

Artistic Interpretations - A Whale of a Tale

For deeds of true valor... we may safely point to the life of a whale man and dare the whole world to produce a parallel!

Can you imagine this is all you had beneath you
as you pursued a whale?
Bravery and valor are not words to be used solely for sailors, but I've toured a few schooners and such, a replica of the Santa Maria, boats I shudder to think having to spend one night on in a calm and  gently rocking ocean, let alone weeks or months - not to mention endure storms of any kind.  I really can't think of anything that would need more bravery than whaling.

I know the oil gotten from these gentle creatures was/is important in our world and as I often do, I think of the beauty of these creatures and can't imagine harming them.  However, I would like for us to contemplate what products came from these huge beasts and how they helped make life better for humans.  Think of the people of Alaska and other countries that relied upon them to survive - harvested them without waste.  Or if you prefer, think of the waste and how humans have not honored these creatures.

I visited Nantucket, Massachusetts this past summer and walked through their whale exhibit.  Nantucket today is a very fancy and expensive place to live (I admired a mere $35,000,000.00 summer home from afar)... but back in the day it was a whaling town.

We poets here in the Garden live all over the world and I'd love to pull together a poetic narrative of what whaling once meant to native people and the cities/countries that all border the ocean in one way or another.  Or think how the products made it to the inner parts of the world ... how they changed lives.  Perhaps you have toured a coastal town with a link towards whaling (or fishing - I could accept that) like I did in Nantucket and would like to share it with us.  Perhaps you have a family link / heritage you can explore.  Perhaps you live in or near a town that is steeped in such history and you are a walking encyclopedia and are bursting with information.  If the focus isn't whales, perhaps something else related to the ocean or sea?

Perhaps you own an artifact or trinket from the whaling past and can write about it in a poem?

Have you read a good book about whaling?  (Of course Moby Dick comes to mind... but I don't put that in my category of "must reads" - sorry, I haven't ever been able to get past the first few pages)  But perhaps you can put it in a compelling poetic format ... or another book about the sea and bravery.

Or... you can just give me a "Whale of a Tale"... one that rivals the amazing tales told upon such ships to while the time away... to keep haunts and superstitions at bay?

Perhaps you want to write to one of the photos I have supplied... poetic non-fiction or fiction.

You may also want to google "Scrimshaw" and write to one of the many images carved on whale teeth (ivory).  Truly gorgeous artwork!

You may supply your own photos if you have them or use mine for inspiration.  Consider linking us to websites that can further educate us... or take us in a completely different direction and surprise us.  After all this is Artistic Interpretation!

Please post, visit and comment on Mr. Linky below.  I will be traveling over the duration of this prompt, but I will try and visit and comment if I can get my hands on a computer.  Otherwise I will visit each of you when I return!  Thank you.

Note: I've been having trouble posting my comments to many of your blogs.  I can't even get the chatroll to appear from IGWRT's.  I've spent over an hour commenting this past weekend (and Monday - Wednesday) realizing most weren't going through.  I hope this all works itself out soon - I have this love/hate relationship with computers... ugh. Has anyone experienced this?  Will it straighten itself out soon as I have NO idea who to contact with this problem.   I HAVE been trying to comment on the IGWRT's poems. 

Spermaceti was gotten from the large cavity in a sperm whales head.  It was used for lighting, lubricating machinery, and candles.  This spermaceti came from the sperm whale that washed ashore in Sconset on Nantucket in 1999 and is displayed in the Gosnell Hall.  (below)

This was a young whale - take a look at the size of the boat used to harpoon adult whales and haul them to the big ship! And those harpoons on the wall don't look that big to me but I'm sure they were sharp... 
An image below of what it was like...

Sailors and others loved carving whale bone:

Victorian Lady - Scrimshaw Tooth

Adam - Scrimshaw - Whale Tooth

Eve - Scrimshaw - Whale Tooth


Kim M. Russell said...

An interesting prompt, Nargaret! I was once given some scrimshaw but didn't keep it. The carving is intricate and beautiful but I hated having pieces of beautiful creatures in my home, even though I knew that they were made a long time ago. I can't read Moby Dick or watch the film as it makes me angry and sad.

Fireblossom said...

It took me an hour and a slew of Google searches to finally remember the term "spyhopping", but I finally found it. I wanted to add a vid of Judy Collins singing "Farewell To Tarwathie", with the whale song in the background, but I don't do any frills on Black Mamba so I didn't.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A topical prompt for me since I live among whales. Am looking forward to reading the responses. Shay, I have seen whales spyhopping, it is very cool. Especially when several do it at once, scanning the area.

brudberg said...

I will have to think about this... I do remember that we had whale beef every once in a while as a kid... Norway is one of the few whaling countries left... but I might get an other idea...

Susie Clevenger said...

Love the prompt. Mine is a different approach. I'm in a tough spot, a new challenge added to a long summer of challenges.

brudberg said...

Joining late... I took a little sidetrack and wrote about ambergris.