Where rivers flow in monsoon climes
I heard back in those distant times
Strange tales of men and seas and fate
And one such story I’ll relate:
In waters warm, gloomy and deep,
Where crabs and worms and shellfish creep;
When dies the day and wakes the night;
When all that shines is dim starlight
And moonlight where the drifting clouds
Admit a glimmer by their shrouds,
To murky depths where vision blurs,
There – from his rest a monster stirs.
With body, seven yards or more,
Another two of toothy saw,
Hide dull and coarse – rough skin of shark,
Eyes glowing faintly in the dark.
He rises slowly from his hide
As pulls the force of time and tide.
A killer of prodigious length;
A shadowed shape of power and strength.
Then with a flick of tail and fins
The sawfish on his hunt begins.
Goes forth the fish unto the south,
Toward the river’s yawning mouth.
There by the glistening muddy banks,
Where swarms of mullet school in ranks
He herds and thrashes with his saw –
Consumes the shards of flesh and gore.
Above the fish a shape drifts by –
Barbed spear, sharp as the native eye
Strikes true and deep, into the giant;
He turns upon his foe defiant.
With flashing saw the shape he rakes;
The bark canoe splinters and breaks,
As others rally to the fight;
Spears rend his flesh – from left and right.
His back abristle with cruel goads,
The sawfish writhes, the sea explodes
With waves whipped red – a crimson flood,
As from his wounds wells out his blood.
His life now ebbs, his struggle slows;
His saw no match for savage blows.
Though one who hunted him lies still,
Was not the fish who sought to kill.
So soon upon the mud he’s drawn.
His body shudders, pierced and torn.
The sawyer of the sea cut down;
Felled on the land, to gasp and drown.