the Kraken

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber’d and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

– Alfred, Lord Tennyson

With language as dense as the creature’s sea green sleep, “The Kraken” avoids mention of the physical attributes of its titular subject. Tennyson forces the imagination to fill in the horror as the reader waits for the answer to reveal itself on shore.


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