Poem: Dirge of the Dying Whale


The whale rises up from the deep,

And, as he his lead to be moored

By The Cliffs of Dover, maybe then

I will understand why I am housed

Within this cave of cartilage – this

Floating stone of the surf; for now

My body grows heavy with the united

Scourges of despair and ignorance; it

Lies upon the beached sands, and counts

The harpoons in its back – one, two, three –

One lodged in the base of my spine; another

Making obeisance to the confused fortress of

My throat – the third and final piercing message

Planted as firmly as a flag in the back of my skull,

Where the rusted iron can equally commingle with

My thoughts, ever rusting, rusting, rusting . . .

And once unbound from this becalmed beast;

Once set free from the seat of this leviathan’s tonnage,

What will my homeless spirit do then? When my body,

Unsouled, is but ambergris and blubber, what will they

Build of me? Build me, sayest I, into a museum, and read

Each of my cells as books to craft a library, where you can

Source the traces of my thoughts in the broken circuitry of

Every scattered neuron

But, what you will find no more of is the unbagging

Of my notes; for the death of a whale is the death of

A song – and the death of my song is the breaking of

A cord which ties us to where we most want to



My song belongs nowhere now;

It is lost and adrift as a broken raft,

A voyager sent to space in an

Unmanned craft


As the whale lies there –

As I lie there –

Cleansing the oceans with the offering of my blood,

I attempt to sing out one last song – not a swan song –

But a whale song

I sing it,

And my mouth becomes its own maelstrom,

I sing it,

And the coasts reverberate with the sounds of a dying chasm,

I sing it,

And all the seaweed,

And the tides and rhythms of the hollows of the earth,

Find their voice in my threnodic whistle


Because I do not just sing for myself,

But for the world – I sing for all those that

Cannot sing for themselves – I sing for

The disenfranchised, lonely, and oppressed,

For those submerged in deeper oceans, who

Will never get to dislodge those harpoons of

Pain which spear their chaotic chests

For these will I sing,

Until, mayhap, the tides come in again,

And my fins turn into wings




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