Friday, August 6, 2010

The Migration of 1997

photo by

[When this news broke, we in Clayoquot Sound were devastated and alarmed. The news article referred to drug running boats. But, upon reflection, we realized small boats could not have caused such havoc, that perhaps the official news release was intended to deflect awareness away from something larger that was going on. We never determined the actual cause of the whales' deaths.

I wrote this poem in a small effort to assist in the transformation of consciousness we so desperately needed then - and even more desperately need now - on this planet, struggling in the grip of the multinationals.
I highly recommend the Julian Lennon production of Whaledreamers, documenting
the arrival in Australia of aboriginal elders and shamans from around the world,
gathering in a sacred whale-calling spot to sing the whales in to shore as in days of old.]

february 25, 1997
Sister whale,
you begin your migration
along the rugged coast,
and I stand waiting
in the chill, late-winter dawn,
watching to see you passing by
on your ancient journey,
both of us caught
in the spell of a force
far greater than man's,
connected in the mystery
and the beauty
of the universal plan
that makes us sisters
under the skin,
that makes us kin.
Mystical swimmer
in the primal sea,
it's been your ocean
since the world began.
You have made your way
century upon century
from birthing grounds
to feeding grounds,
your babies by your side,
your steady progress
purposeful and true
through the perilous course
your corridor has become
since it became a corridor
man shares with you.
I have looked down
to see you from the air,
your body outlined
like a dozing giant
in the kelp,
and I have caught my breath
as,with a huge exhalation,
you surfaced right beside my boat,
with your wise, loving eye
seeing me clear,
looking like you wanted to offer
us bumbling humans help
to learn the ancient wisdom
you could share,
if only you could find
a way to speak,
and if only we could find a way
to hear.
Now they say you're dying
in massive numbers
in the Gulf.
Up north, we're weeping
as we read the news
that your corridor,
a whale highway
at this time of year,
is also now a passage for cocaine.
The news item says drug smugglers
are dumping chemicals - NK-19 -
that they use to mark drug loads
for detection
from the air at night.
The shining boats must make
a pretty sight,
but when dawn comes
there are your bodies
lying on the shore
in numbers too great to ignore,
from swimming through the sea
in total trust,
because you have no choice
and swim you must.
My mind, after
the numbness and despair,
begins to form a bigger question: how
can small boats dumping buckets
cause such hell?
Or is this just
a smokescreen
to hide the truth?
Is nuclear waste the story
they dont tell?
My heart is aching,
for what it's worth.
Should we put up a sign in Baja:
Detour this earth?
Soon we'll hear
that whales are glowing
out at sea.
Will we sell tickets then
to see the show?
Night time whale watching:
double the profit,
double the fun.
I'd say I'm sorry
and I'm not the only one.
I own the guilt of
belonging to
my species.
All I can do is write my pain
into a poem.
I know your heart
holds sorrow too,
everywhere you roam,
for I can hear it
in your mournful song.
What are we doing to your home?
What are we doing to
our planetary home?
Sister whale,
swim fast, swim free.
Some of us know
that together we share
a common destiny.


  1. Sorry folks, I have tried every which way and this program WILL NOT insert spacing where I want it. Grrrrrrrr.

  2. HI Sherry
    How sad... these majestic creatures should be treasured....

    I've never been whale watching.. Quite often we get them just passing by the Sydney beaches.. next time I hear of such I must go and have a look..

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.. xxx Julie

  3. I wonder if you live anywhere near where Whaledreaming was filmed. Whales are mystical and awesome beings. Sometimes the resident whales will grow accustomed to the boats and will come right up alongside. Their eyes are wise and ancient; and their whooshing exhalations sound like the breath of God. Hope you see some soon. Thanks for stopping by:)

  4. This is such a strong poem, Sherry. The ending rings true. The whale's destiny and ours are tied together!

  5. true sentiments,
    we all write out our pains and struggles, we move and smile as well...

    a poem that is packed with truth, faith, and love.
    Fabulous poetry.

  6. This is a touch poem, Sherry. I could almost hear you crying. But it indeed a depthful poem.

  7. Oh that brought a lump to my throat, such beautiful creatures, so very sad, well written Sherry.

  8. I almost didn't read this as I know that things like this touch me so deeply I sometimes have trouble carrying the emotion.
    I don't seem to be able to separate myself from the sufferering of our fellow beings.

    You wrote this so well and with so much heart Sherry that you softened the sadness with beauty and I would like to take and echo your words ...
    "I own the guilt of
    belonging to
    my species."

    Wonderful writing.

  9. What a beautiful and touching piece. Love and Light, Sender

  10. Any piece of writing focusing on the plight of whales is a winner with me. Thanks for this piece, Sherry.

  11. A common destiny indeed...this is magnificent Sherry...i love it!

  12. I had the movie Whale Rider playing in my mind as I read sucks that folks would put profit over the preservation of ecology but it happens all over the always thanks for sharing your words.

  13. Sherry,
    I support your heartfelt desires for the wellbeing of these wonderful animals.
    Your words are an awakening for many of us.
    Thank you for this piece of writing.
    PS: I use GRRRRR, quite often when I am near my computer!!!
    Best wishes, Eileen

  14. I'm the same way, I cant separate myself from the suffering of fellow beings - well put, was truly amazing living in Tofino, a whale highway went right past us. So many times I would be out in a boat, and these gentle giants would come right up to the boat, looking in with their big ancient eyes, just turning me to mush. Such trust, even as the ocean is heating up because of humans.

    Eileen, I use GRRRRRRR a lot at my keyboard too:) Thanks to all of you for stopping by!


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!