Haikus from Moby Dick; or The Whale by Herman Melville

A literary classic that wasn't recognized for its merits until decades after its publication, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick tells the tale of a whaling ship and its crew, who are carried progressively further out to sea by the fiery Captain Ahab. Obsessed with killing the massive whale, which had previously bitten off Ahab's leg, the seasoned seafarer steers his ship to confront the creature, while the rest of the shipmates, including the young narrator, Ishmael, and the harpoon expert, Queequeg, must contend with their increasingly dire journey. The book invariably lands on any short list of the greatest American novels.

"Landlord, for God's sake,
Peter Coffin!" shouted I.
"Landlord! Watch! Coffin!

The whale himself has
never figured in any
grand imposing way.

And there's a mighty
difference between a living
thump and a dead thump.

That's the way--THAT'S it;
thy throat ain't spoiled with eating
Amsterdam butter.

White skin, white liver!
Knife thee heartily!

the ringed horizon.
In that ring Cain struck Abel.
Sweet work, right work! No?

So, so, so, then:--softly, softly!
That's it--that's it! long and strong.
Give way there, give way!

I survived myself;
my death and burial were
locked up in my chest.

But these knocking whales
are seldom remarkable
as faithful essays.

The red tide now poured
from all sides of the monster
like brooks down a hill.

No! hands him, ye gods!
hands him a cup of tepid
ginger and water!

Small sword, or broad sword,
in all its exercises
boasts nothing like it.

A Loose-Fish is fair
game for anybody who
can soonest catch it.

hearing the footstep
at the door, but not turning
round to it. "On deck!

A touch, and Starbuck
may survive to hug his wife
and child again.--Oh Mary! Mary!--boy! boy!

Now were even poor
Pip here I could endure it,
but he's missing. Pip!

cried Ahab after
allowing a little space
for the light to spread.

There's a most special,
a most cunning, oh, a most
malicious difference!

Through the breach, they heard
the waters pour, as mountain
torrents down a flume.