Issa on the Pequod

by Ron Starr

Don’t worry, phantom,

I keep ship



Climb, death,

O Evolution,

but slowly, slowly.


Ice imitating the body

is even more wonderful

than the body.


Hearses, planks,

this, that,

and the crew goes.


A dry coffin


by a tub.

From A Map by a Dim Lamp, Seattle: Ravenna Press, 2006, pages 53–54. A note in the book says that the author says that this sequence “uses some of Issa’s haiku as templates into which I’ve inserted vocabulary from Moby Dick.” See also “Luther’s Narrow Road.”