Friday, January 27, 2012


photo:sharon auberle

by Sharon Auberle

May the calm be widespread. May the ocean glisten as greenstone.
May the shimmer of light ever dance across your pathway.
~ Maori Prayer

Just offshore this part of the coast,
the whaling guide says a canyon lies,
one thousand feet deep.
Mind and body tremble to think of this,
to think of tumbling down, down
into those ancient fathoms, loosed from tethers,
unyoked, free at last, to explore
what has always been dark, hidden.

Maybe there is a way to slip back in time,
back to when we small humans understood
there are places and creatures holy as us.
Maybe, somewhere, a leviathan goddess waits,
who will carry me on her back,
down to where her people sing to each other;
down to where the seabed shakes
in epic ecstasy of their courtship and love.
I would like to meet the whale children,
their gleaming bodies black beside mine,
my soul no more a pale flower,
but massive now, majestic as they,
as souls and whales were always meant to be.

Could it be that whales know us,
as they circle round our fragile boats?
With one slap of their mighty flukes
they could erase us in an instant.
Yet they only roll, lazily, in the waves,
breaching now and then—exuberant, yet careful.
Is it possible they have forgiven
our tremendous cruelty to them,
as a mother forgives her errant children,
knowing they have not yet learned?

A shining calf spouts nearby, showering us with droplets.
It’s good luck, says the guide, to be touched with whale breath,
and I wish for the luck to descend tonight--
to sing with whales, one thousand feet deep;
to dive and roll and breach in their colossal company
until morning comes—when I must awake,
ascend once more to that place
where even our sun god pales beside them;
where whale song lingers in the roaring of my ears.

~ first published in Earth’s Daughters