poem: the whales


the whales


The whales of Hervey Bay:  we’d booked a cruise,

A half-day ‘Whalesong” cruise to see them.  Boat
Was large and powerful, reassuring.  Whales
Are not zoo animals our captain said;
Quite early on was managing our lofty
Expectations – he meant we’d have to chase,
Not visit them.  It wasn’t long before
We saw our first cetaceans; most were pairs
Of humpbacks, graceful, rising, plunging through
The waves.  The best came early in the day:
Great black leviathans, up close they swam.
As told, we waved our arms and nearer still
They came, quite curious. ‘And why, Ms Whale,
Do people move like that?’  They spouted, sound
Like air compressed, and loud. So huge were they,
‘Round twenty metres long, I’d say.  But then
We spent much time in tracking, not so much
In seeing whales; so said our captain.  Life’s
About the expectations marketing
Creates to top reality.  Those pics
Of whales cavorting must have taken oh
So many trips to sea.  And yet our brief
Encounters still made magic time indeed
For us; makes one reflect: we’re mammals, born
With brains so complex, full of thoughts, and yet
We’re fast on track to wreck our planet.  Whales,
Their brains are huge, they’re mammals too, but look
They’re peaceful, spoiling nothing.  What can be
Their thoughts, what must they think of deadly us?


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