Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Whale Song (2004)

Sometimes the song
that guides my hand
arrives from way below,
down where the blue
whale swims, his voice
the deepest register
sea’s brine organum.
His voice under mine
is terrible, the angel
of Jonah and Ahab
who demands more than
short mornings here afford.
It is brutal and cold like
plainsong in my father’s
stone chapel at the
winter solstice, and yet
agelessly sweet like a
blue piano’s kiss.
Such sounds hold in words
only vaguely and at
great cost. I would have
that music pass over me
sitting here in my life
with my wife upstairs asleep
and our cat drinking in
the night air of an opened
window: And yet
such trebles shine
because of his bass clef,
each note of merry
surface bliss
resounding in those
deepest tones which
swim only with the whales,
hurling Thor’s chords
down a thousand-
fathom trench. Poems
inked there drown
their makers, so beware.
Labor carefully
at the organ-pipes
of that lumbering whale.
Go shore to shore
on the highest wings
of his dark hell-booming bell.


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