The White — A Note on the Text

after Hermann Melville — Moby-Dick; or, The Whale


Ian Gibbins





At sea-rim, sky-base,

afloat somewhere between

head, bone-dense, and shoulder,

blink or flinch and occasional shrug,

thick inward draw and the effort

of gyre, draught, push, pulse, pull:


on this side, the clear, yes, invisible,

on that, the almost so,

tensed, reticulated, dispersed

into rhythmic tail-flick, bell-float,

insinuating tentacle and lure:


so try me, jimble, manta,

gar, mako, kraken;

try me, wrack, rollick, wraith,

under threat of claw, spine, barb

in gnash and gape and sweep,

the rip and tear of clot:


flensed to wind spume,

brawn paled to cloud roll,

spirit leached to the aftermath

of avalanche, blizzard, quake,

all too certain glacial collapse:


the melt and mist, relentless,

the flow, rising, rising,

and I, with no colour,

no, with all, indistinguishable

from any ocean in lull or roil,

awash over the face of earth.








Ian Gibbins is a poet, electronic musician and video artist, having been a neuroscientist for more than 30 years and Professor of Anatomy for 20 of them.  His poetry covers diverse styles and media, including electronic music, video, performance, art exhibitions, and public installations, and has been widely published in-print and on-line, including three books with accompanying electronic music: Urban Biology (2012), The Microscope Project: How Things Work (2014), and Floribunda (2015) — the last two in collaboration with visual artists.  Ian Gibbins is online at