Thursday, April 21, 2011

Right Whales


Whales Weep Not!
by D. H. Lawrence

They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.

All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge
on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.
The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers
there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of
the sea!

This is the beginning of a long poem by D.H. Lawrence -- Google surprises me so often. I had no idea Lawrence would have written about whales. I went looking for whale poems although I read two very fine ones last fall -- "The Wellfleet Whale" by Stanley Kunitz [a poem the class teacher, Steven Blooom thinks one of the great American poems -- and he may be right] and also a poem about a young whale, seen in the same Cape Cod Bay by Mark Doty. Both are long poems and need to be read whole.

I am thinking of whales because I am trying to feel their presence. Yesterday one news report said 30 had been spotted in the Atlantic off Cape Cod and then I think I heard that the number had been raised to 100. These whales seem to swim up this way each spring and probably then go on north along the Canadian coast. Right whales are seriously endangered, 100 would be a notable proportion of those believed to exist today.

To know they are somewhere out there feels to me as it must feel to live on the Kamakatcha Peninsula and know that the last Amur tigers are someplace out there in the forest. I don't know if it's a quirk of my imagination or if other people sometimes have an imaginative awareness of things they knew exist but cannot see.

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- Oh terrific news about the numbers. I know that many different critters are out there but I usually don't see them. I don't know if that is what you mean or not? They try and bind and repair all the horrible things that we humans do to their places. Good post -- barbara

June Calender said...

Yes, I mean all those criters, Barbara. And this morning's news mentioned 200 right whales -- made me feel good.