Whale Watching


Photo by Janet Thorndike

Watching humpback whales at their summer feeding grounds, Stellwagen Banks, aboard a New England Aquarium ship (Boston, Massachusetts, July 13, 1997). The turquoise areas are the reflections of the water off their pectoral fins. These whales are about 50 feet in length, and eight different humpbacks were seen within an hour's time.

The Sea Sings

Seismologists find a mysteriously pure tone in the ocean.
(--Scientific American, August 1997)

So the sea itself sings,
though no one knows how for sure.

Perhaps from volcanos in the sea bed
a pure tone rises,
pure as we can hear,
and rumbles out slowly
through the deep bones of Earth.

And maybe the whales hear
and the humpbacks tune their songs
to this sea pitch
as the floor of the world
falls away even deeper
to a humming core.



Bird/seal transformation, Inuit, stone, ca. 1970.

Bird/Seal Transformation

how stone
is fastened to the sea:

The stone is a wave transfixed,
tides and eddies.
It is not real--the sea never stills.

Did the artist see on the beach
the seals hauled up to breed and rest,
the birds among them nesting?

The seaweed like wool
becomes the strength of the sea.
Its green deepens.

The carver tells some ways of knowing--
he weaves his hand into the stone
where animals with old eyes are watching.


On "October Salmon" by Ted Hughes

He uses the salmon to tell his fears
and what his eyes see.
Though I know it neither cares nor hears,
I would speak past the poet to the salmon
who lies spawning and dying
after the long swim home.

The fish blooms with death,
but its shredding skin
comes down to this: glistening pale eggs
brushed and swept to the river's bed,
and eagles feeding
on the exhausted flesh.

Northwest Coast carving, cedar.



Photographs and poetry ©1997 Carol Snyder Halberstadt.


Go to Listening to the Stone pages.

Return to Inuit art page.

Go to Weaving the Light pages.

Go to Storytelling page.

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Copyright © 1996 , 1997 Carol Snyder Halberstadt, Migrations. All rights reserved.