Disappearing Whale


beached whale


Whale death lay glistening in tons pushed
to shore by high tides of sea’s mightiness to
display new status…one realm to another.

‘Twas of no interest except to scavengers–
crab…fly…worm…seagull–carcass feeding
at the sandy demarcation of sea to land,
and to shore walkers drawn to the raw
morbidity of a decaying flesh profusion
in that great leviathan.

Stench blew variable, yet mostly back to
sea…as if respectful of the polite society
group-knotted … mostly silent…awed by
rigor mortis on such tremendous scale.

One alone recorded the event. He brushed
the scene to canvas…kept his distance…
had to…for the gaining of perspective
of worlds colliding with such diffidence.

The painting hung admired in galleries
until years later…a critic, over sensitive,
stroked green white waves to overlap
the dread embarrassment of……whale.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Hendrick van Anthonissen
“View of Scheveningen Sands” 1641

6 thoughts on “Disappearing Whale

  1. Good to hear your voice here: “colliding with such diffidence” — seems, to me, the two-stroke engine of this astonishing dis/covery.

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