Sea Stories: The Shark by William Henry Venable

Arguably, there are no other ocean critters feared as much as sharks. Sharks can be dangerous but they aren't the ruthless killers they are often portrayed to be. In reality, if you do head into the sea you are more likely to die from cardiac arrest or drowning than from a shark attack. 

Peter Benchley's Jaws (made into a movie by Steven Spielberg) famously thrust sharks - particularly great white sharks - into the public eye, portraying them as fierce adversaries who are hell-bent on hunting us down. But as William Henry Venable's 1909 poem The Shark illustrates, we have feared sharks long before Jaws made its debut on the silver screen...

Captured! Along the beach those shouts reveal
The fisherman exultant victor! Hark!
The Karcharos, from out his crystalline, dark
Blue lair by rud of flesh and lurking steel
Bewrayed, hath ravined down with his last meal
Death as a gobbet. On the hot sand, stark,
He gasps and shudders agonizing. Mark!
With horrible grin those bloody jaws appeal
Unto his gloating murderers.—No more
Those serried ranks sextuple of fanged white
Shall scare the shallows and appall the shore,
Never again wreak havoc and affright,
Ranging the Gulf Stream, weltering in gore;—
Poor Shark! Man-eater! learn of Man, to fight.

The Shark has been reproduced here under the Public Domain licence.

Header Image: Sharks in an aquarium. Credit Pexels/Pixabay (CC-0)