Thursday, February 25, 2016

how good to gentle the touch

the whale and us

humpback whales feed and frolic,
and tend the young,
just off the coast,
where Maui, Molokai, and Lana’i
make a triangle as if to hold them,
there’s power and stability when 3 connect,

I feel an immensity in the humpback’s body and spirit,
those cousins who left the land for the ocean,
with huge brains we cannot yet know
and great songs we can record yet not grasp,

we above the ocean
and they within it,
as if each of our worlds
 is the inverse of the other’s,

we joy when they leap into the air for brief moments,
for then their world can at least touch ours,

there’s so much tragedy in our history together,
they to us, for a time, but a source
 of meat, lamp oil, and a fixative for perfume,
greatness reduced to thing, 
their songs could travel across oceans
until our propellers on our ships fouled their music,

how much better it is now
when our eyes touch their breaching,
and we learn to love their freedom
with a touch that doesn’t hurt. 

by Henry H. Walker
February 22, ’16

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