Isn’t it a grace that the faces
of the flailing plankton can’t be seen
by the Baleen whales driven by their strong tails
swallowing whole swarms clean for dinner?
I swear if their terror could be detected
it might be some whales voluntarily select to
forego the whole meal out of a feeling of genuine empathy.
And then where would they be?
Kindness literally starving them to death
beneath a suddenly calmer compassionate sea.
Please don’t mention this to me.
I refuse to think about the six-pack rings
of unsnipped plastic that I just threw away,
or the other day how I left my towel
in a crumple on a hotel bathroom floor just to get a couple more,
not to mention the man I passed an hour before
without so much as a friendly glance,
hurrying home as I was to my hoard, change my pants,
pay the piper for the chance to get this whale off my chest,
my reward for my work, here’s a bottle of wine
and a shrimp appetizer and some peppy TV time.
Eye of the Whale continues my series of poems inspired by various iconic arches with National Arches Monument in Moab, Utah. Each poem explores some dimension of human becoming, just as each arch is formed by the long action of wind and water on the sandstone. This poem explores the idea that we blithely continue in many of our actions because we do not take the time to see possible long term consequences of things that are apparently innocuous. This poem was written primarily with the ear, playing with rhythms over a steady beat. Read it out loud and see how the rhythms play on your tongue. Listen to my recording below and you'll hear how I was hearing them play out.
Photo credit: unknown.