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The Well Read Poem

Jul 19, 2021

Welcome to Season 4 of The Well Read Poem with poet and classicist Thomas Banks. This series of poetry readings will focus on poems having animals as the subject. Some poems will be by well known poets, while others will be by less popular poets.
This week’s poem is “The Kraken” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson was perhaps the last poet to achieve popular celebrity in his day, and his inspiration for this poem comes from the Book of Job and Norse folklore. Poem begins at timestamp 6:58. Check out our sister podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, for more great discussions of literature!

The Kraken

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms 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.