{author's note} After reading the excellent F. P. Walter translation, I somehow got inspired to write a dark, surrealist poem. Usually I would write more lighthearted 20000 Leagues fic, but this piece focuses on the Nautilus as a weapon and Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned as prisoners.


"In the midst of these flames that didn't burn, I could see swift, elegant porpoises, the tireless pranksters of the seas, and sailfish three meters long..."

"A morbid sleep, full of hallucinations, seized my whole being."

—Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

...

Awake

Sleepers, awake!
from this morbid sleep
from a mesosphere deep
in a boundless lake

In the midst of flames
which did not burn—
in the end, you shall learn
the price of lost days

The bone-ridden arch
to esophagus long
all energies wrong
through the downward march

The primeval shudder
in the sea-cave gray
every wearisome way
ripped apart by the rudder

Sleepers, awake:
rise up to the start
of an unshackled heart
and a soul without fear

Abandon despair—
escape from his mind
from a world without time
seen in submarine's glare
in dead, watery air.