Kraken revisited

The kraken arises from an ocean of riven broken time.
Jaws gritty with the dust of things once precious.
Each sinuous movement violates reason and rhyme
A murky intelligence stares from its eyes, deeply vicious.

Its elemental fear makes us doubt our every intent.

Most terrible because it is so intensely silent…
More strange than any beast in any sea ever sailed…
A mere hint of its rising makes the heartbeat violent
As we feel the foundations of our being are assailed.

Even to think of it makes the universe feel bent.

For this beast devours our souls’ hard-won pearls
Spitting out the fragments of the truth we thought secure
Throws us silent and naked into a lonely world
Where the shreds of our peace must struggle to endure.

But one day we must stop being prey and learn to fight.

Set out to hunt the beast across the deep ocean floors –
Stare into its eyes to defy it, and there see its flaws and errors.
Rebuild for ourselves what was pulverised by its jaws,
And relax, knowing our peace stronger than its paralysing terrors,

Buoyant on dawn-blushed waves, at the end of the kraken night.


This is a revision of an earlier poem of mine, Kraken. I revisited it on a suggestion from readwritepoem to go back and rework an old poem. The original was a jigsaw poem, and in rewriting it I’ve removed many of the jigsaw words to give myself more freedom to say exactly what I want. I’ve made the meaning a shade more explicit too. I’ve also incorporated a final verse as I felt it needed a more powerful, positive ending. Oh, and I’ve introduced rhyme!

I think altogether that the revised version is stronger – what do you think?

(Photo – Deep Blue Sea – uploaded to Flickr by TheFortunate)




14 responses to “Kraken revisited

  1. I think the poem does benefit from a tightening up of form and the newr version has greater clarity. I’m not sure why you changed to ‘broken’ from ‘riven’ which I thought was a stronger word.

  2. Watermaid – thanks for your comments! I’m not quite sure why I took against “riven” either – I think I felt broken was a bit more down to earth, compared to riven which was a bit too poem-ish. But now I look at it again I think I prefer riven too!

  3. I need to go back and re-read the old one, but now, while the thoughts are fresh, I want to say how true this poem rings for me. The metaphor of the Kraken
    for the beast of anxiety and despair refelects how I’ve had to live some days. And just when you think you’re safe, “the mere hint of its rising”…..

    Great poem!

  4. I like the looming threat of the kraken though I also like the metaphorical uses you put the image too. The rhyme is strong since doesn’t seem distracting. It encourages me to face my personal krakens too, which is kind of cool.

    Everything Will Be Alright – A Journey Couples Therapy

  5. Thanks for your comments – probably the biggest change between the first and last poems is the positive ending.

    Oh – having posted the poem I finally realised how to fix the last line which was just not working for me… should probably have put it up as an edit but that interrupted the flow too much. I feel it now captures some of that incredible, buoyant feeling of having escaped that darkness – the days when the fear lifts and recedes and you feel so alive and strong.

  6. Yes, I can relate to this too……..and I also like riven…….the kraken is a powerful metaphor and the rhyme scheme adds to the menace, bringing him closer. The ending is more upbeat and it serves the poem well.

  7. It’s so refreshing to see well crafted rhyme. With the positive ending this version really becomes a whole other work of art. I’m glad you kept my favorite line “Even to think of it…”

  8. Who am I to resist the opinion of my reading public… particuarly when they say such nice things!

    I was tempted to change your favourite line, Nathan, but remembered how much you and others had liked it and left it intact.

    Oh, and “riven” is back by popular demand!

  9. “a mere hint of its rising makes the heartbeat violent” — hit me right between the eyes and resonated so strongly within me regarding my own fears — whew!!!

  10. To rid me of my OCD angst — I think you meant “…makes the universe feel bent.”

    Now, I really like the gripping nature of this piece. I am generally partial to free verse, but I think the mythic essence of this piece calls for rhyme — and you did it well.

    Therefore, I think your revision improved this fine work.

    “Buoyant on dawn-blushed waves, at the end of the kraken night.” An excellent visual of waking from a nightmare…

  11. Well spotted Rob… the difficulty with revisions is that you occasionally end up changing your mind half way through, with the result that you leave stupid typos!

    I am torn about rhyme – it can really get in the way, particularly if done clumsily. But in the right context it does seem to give a whole different shape and rhythm to a poem. Glad you feel it worked here, anyway!

  12. Danni – hope the positive ending made up for the blow between the eyes!

  13. It’s a good poem to have revised by adding rhyme!

  14. Pingback: Coming back to life… « Words that sing

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