Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Whale, Luna in Nootka Sound

The Whale, a simple name for a documentary that is simple in story line and complex in feelings and thoughts it raises. A two year old orca was somehow separated from its pod and remained alone in Nootka Bay in the complex of islands off Vancouver, Canada. Soon it became clear to the people in the area that the whale they called Luna (although it was male) was seeking companionship from people.  People loved petting Luna who never hurt anyone. The local tribe of First People's believed Luna to be a reincarnation of a recently deceased elder  The Canadian Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries got involved--creating a bureaucratic confusion. It's a painful story of people not knowing how to interact with a wild animal who very clearly wants to interact with them. I found the movie very thought provoking, moving, beautiful and painful. Most of us are prone to beleive animals can related to us profoundly; this movie  seems to prove it just as it proves that bureaucracies are incapable of dealing intelligently with animals.

Today's poem is a so-so one I wrote a while ago and recently read when my poetry group read at an assisted living complex -- because I thought it would be understood even if people were not paying very much attention.

Off Leash

The dogs walk the people
on Sunday morning at the beach,
in the off seson when the locals
don't have to share sand
and surf with summer guests.
Off leash freedom intoxicates
the dogs.  They prance and dance,
and race along the sand
and into marsh grass.
Tirelessly they retrieve and recycle
sticks, Frisbees, old tennis balls,
even when thrown awkwardly far and wide
into the grass or the outgoing tide
Then the dogs rememer they are not alone.
The owe their owners for their Iams and bones.
They try, in their wordless say,
to train the trainers--
no silly tricks like heel, beg, stay.
They teach by example:
sniff deeply of the shore's delectible scents
play with others after sniffing to read
their hormonal state, unprejudiced
by size, shape, color, pedigree or breed.
By example, they teach observance of rules,
coming with a bound and a bounce
when called, submitting to the leash
when a chary child or frightened old biddy
cowers in ignorant timidity.
What doltish students people are!
Years of work by ever patient pets
hasn't changed human habits yet.
People merely nod to one another,
they plod ddully beside the wondrous sea
and ignore the chaseable gulls.
They daydream away the sweetest breeze.
Without tails to wag,
humans can't publicy express
emotions from simple gladness
to soul-deep happiness.

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- this is a great poem -- and how true is your ending. The orca story probably would make me sad. I am glad you didn't revel the ending. Bureaucracies have done such harm to our wild friends -- Great post -- barbara

June Calender said...

Thanks, I'm glad you like the poem. The woman who runs the documentary class gets most of the ones we see for the state library systems -- and often has to wait weeks. But they are available.