Whale Watching

by Paul Connell

First Published in 'The Lie of the Land' 2004


Scanning the point where gray meets gray
no black back breaks the basalt waves.
I know you’re in there
come out with dorsals high.
But why, no doubt, you ask
should I?

I will not surface
Why should I?
My memory is as long as my tongue
This new age of idolatry
from years when you chased and corseted me.
It is, as it was ever, Piracy.
Where I seek krill, you seek clues to the oceans’ mystery.
You listen to my song but pay no royalty.

Suckling kinship you claim
but after the separation
as your parents crawled ashore
prey to the greedy avian, subject to the clawing wind
I looked out on this new found land,
felt the ocean fold around me like a blanket
and, tempted to follow,
felt no fear.

but knew I was at home down here.