Gull & Leviathan – A Fable

Gull & Leviathan – A Fable is a poem by P.S.Clinen. It won the inaugural Lane Cove Literary Award for poetry in 2014.

White bird, he flew across the blue

To desolation’s shore.

‘Cross peaks of stone that cloak their bones

with iron shrub and hoar.


About the coast of island ghosts

Did flutter that lone ‘gull

He spotted then leviathan –

And perched on living hull.


With water spout spoke mighty trout,

“Why comest thou to me?

My back you greet with combing feet

As though I were your tree.”


Stately gull, puffed up and full,

Bespake as claimant then,

“Far I’ve flown, that I might own

The hills of Kerguelen.


My brothers’ song, forever long

Is what I flew to flee.

Their prattling tide made me decide

There are no gulls like me.”


Spake again, Leviathan

“Why comest thou to me?

You see me doze within the throes

Of icy reverie.”


“To purge that din, a horrid sin –

Birdsong of avian!

Long I yearn for taciturn

Delights of Kerguelen.”


Spake again, Leviathan

“Why comest thou to me?

Thy weathered plight, thy feathered flight

Does not relate to me.”


“Mistake me not, thou patriot,

I am not here for thee.

I’d thought this place bereft of face –  

Alone, I came to be.”


Spake again, Leviathan,

“Thou art a thoughtful bird.

How comest thou to disavow

What kin hath ne’er heard?


Fool adrift – go mend this rift!

Do as your kin would do.

Turn back again from whence thou came,

This clime is not for you.


Thy treasure, lo! Thy pleasure, oh!

To be part of a flock.

I am but one, my friends – I’ve none

Around this dismal rock.”


“Oh giant fish, just hear my wish

Pray don’t proclaim me rude.

Though here be few, thou knows that two

Can’t share of solitude.”


Spake again, Leviathan,

“Then thou must leave me be.”

Then gull took wing and fish did fling

Itself into the sea.


Leviathan of Kerguelen

Swam round his claimed land.

He’d soon derive birds can’t survive

Beyond those blackened sands.


White bird, he flew across the blue

Away from that bleak shoal.

Away from peaks to search and seek

With silent south the goal.


But Winter rose and wings they froze –

Snow drifts but his flock’s twin.

And he in white was lost from sight,

Just as he once had been.



Published by P. S. Clinen

Official website of Australian author, artist and musician, P.S.Clinen. He has published two novels - Tenebrae Manor and The Will of the Wisp, as well as the illustrated poem A Boy Named Art. His most recent release is a poetry collection Vignettes - An Anthology. All of his works are available to purchase on Amazon. He has several albums available on Bandcamp and other streaming services. Check back often for more by this author, including poetry, short stories, new music and other updates.

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