A Hundred Year Old Humpback Whale

Here is the poem I’ve chosen for January 2018. Written in Gartmore, Scotland in 2001.  A reminder that we share the planet with wonderful creatures.

A Hundred Year Old Humpback Whale

A hundred year old Humpback whale
swims onto a northern beach
after one hundred years
in deep oceans
A slumped and clumsy form
laying on a shingled beach
so that if you could roll it over
you would see indentations of
small stones in its ancient skin

The newspaper says
it swam to the beach
to die
– it was very weak
– it was humanely killed
A hundred years spent
swimming across oceans
ended by human hand
on dry land

How can we know
what that whale wanted
More likely, “Air! More Air!”
to give itself a few more moments
Leaving its watery home
to take a chance on land
What did it have to lose?

But in its dying breath
did it realise its mistake?
or, loving the deeps
more than the land
preferred not to be drowned
by its loving watery home?

We will never know
A whale’s life is not ours
We breathe the same air
but sing our own
quite different songs