Monday, August 14, 2017

the cetacean world!


the ocean surrounds Iceland,
as if to hold it in its embrace,
the land reaches into it,
and the ocean reaches into the land,
an intimate conjoining like that of fire with ice here:
shore birds everywhere,

from the Old Harbor at Reykjavik,
we boat out to where the fish are abundant:
the ocean boils in long ovals of feeding mackerel,
the surface churns from a frenzy,

only one of us actually sees a fish,
and then we find minke whales breaching the surface for air,
and then feeding ferociously below what we can see:
a favorite moment came when a whale surfaced 
close enough to us for the “whoof!” of its breath 
to startle us,

all of this reminding us that what we perceive
is so much less than what reality truly is,

today I loved to watch 
the whales and black-and-white dolphins breach,
almost as a wave to us, their distant cousins,

today our whale watching trip 
lightly touches the cetacean worlds,
and I feel both enlarged, and chastened,
by that which is both not us 
and us beyond what I can ever hope to know.

by Henry H. Walker

August 4, ‘17

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