A Dolphin in Mexico

A   D OL P H I N   I N   M E X I C O

E A R T H Q U A K E   I N   Z I H U A T A N E J O

1984

    Once I heard a story told
    that touched my heart profoundly,
    it was about a Dolphin who
    tried to warn a town in Mexico
    about an earthquake forming.


    The tale was too outrageous
    to be true, yet it was true,
    sworn to me by someone
    who observed the facts.
    The Dolphin was a Hero!


    How?  What happened?
    Well, come journey
    to events so unthinkable
    it expands imagination
    to conceive such things.


    A fishing village
    on the western coast
    of Mexico arms the scene
    with powers.  Just wait,
    Hear this story, it shocks.


    Though be forewarned,
    the ending may be sad,
    both Dolphin
    and persons die.
    Cry now, or later.


    In Zihuatenejo
    At Playa del Gatos,
    (Cat Beach), a long seawall
    juts parallel to shore;
    there is an outlet to the bay


    A dark fin was observed
    at the entrance swimming
    back and forth for twenty minutes-
    A shark, a shark,


    As it came closer,
    strange sounds pierced the air.
    Then a head
    raised from the water; shouts
    were heard: "Dios mio, a Dolphin".


    The creature swam
    to the beach
    where he gently nudged
    with his nose, a child
    playing with his father.


    A gesture meaning, do you want
    to take a ride?
    The father helped his boy,
    holding onto him while the Dolphin
    moved around light shallows.


    One morning
    passersby noticed
    a solitary Dolphin
    swimming several meters
    off the shore, making panicked sounds.


    People did not know what to think,
    at first it seemed the Dolphin
    might be in trouble, or ill,
    yet observation throughout the day
    proved him to be healthy, strong.


    Was this Dolphin, in fact, a He?
    "Yes", observed a fisherman,
    "I know this creature,
    comes up to my boat quite often
    several knots from shore."


    "He's the leader from a pod
    of fifty or so Pacific Bottle Nosed,
    a herd counted in these waters
    by the thousands, a common breed
    around these shores, senor.


    "I recognize him by his tail, see that part bitten off
    just at the right fluke,
    I'd know him anywhere,
    never heard him make noise like that before.


    "Early on a pattern was visibly formed,
    meaning: The Dolphin would swim
    right up to the beach every twenty minutes
    and scream loud shrills
    like whistles echoing, aching the ears.


    "They were frightening, eerie
    in pitch, unusual, painful
    spouted through blowholes
    filled with tears instead of sea water.
    His cries shrieked the air with terrible strains.


    "For seven full minutes
    these dramatic outbursts lingered,
    then he would loll out to sea
    and return twenty minutes later
    to repeat the cycle."


    Folks gathered closer, a small crown formed,
    to watch and listen.  Sure enough,
    the Dolphin right on time,
    exactly twenty minutes by the watch,
    came within five meters and screeched high-pitch.


    An old woman, plugged up her ears,
    several others did as well,
    no one ever heard a Dolphin scream before
    as loud, so long, so terrible a shout.
    it shocked nerves alive, raw, white-hot.


    And pumped hearts quick,
    curdling blood to dread.
    Was there a warning here?
    Our Dolphin agitated,
    lashing furiously these waters.


    All the while, crackling sound waves
    into our ears that positively hurt
    like some terrifying lightning
    striking senses.
    It was  a w e s o m e.


    News spread all around
    about this creature from the ocean
    shallowing the marina
    screaming his head off.
    It was like a solo declaration,


    Predictable, conclusive, every twenty minutes,
    he would swim back to the crowd
    shouting, indecipherable sing-songs,
    forcing some to leave, they were so loud
    and ominous, damp ragings from the seas.


    Ringing through the hearing
    like needles at the nerves,
    scratching inner ears with sonic bursts
    until some could not stand it anymore
    and had to leave, many followed.


    Still others came, to watch, listen.
    and gaze at this phenomenon.
    a Dolphin male, leader from his tribe,
    renowned, a master of the waters,
    wailing crazy, lashing.


    Finally near sundown
    The Dolphin went away
    Spanish Phrasings echoed house walls
    Oyez, Dios mio, loco, loco,
    people talked and talked, mucha gente.


    The whole episode was remarkable,
    whole day from morning till sunset,
    a male dolphin clicked eccentric noises
    a few meters from the shore
    where fishing boats dock Pacific waters.


    With regular timing
    he swam back to sea for food and rest,
    then reappeared, yelling
    his screech in Delpinese,
    with such punctuated emphasis, Ay, ay.


    Was he trying to say something?
    Is there a message here?
    A wise viejo from the mountains
    said he was an omen from the gods.
    A vieja agreed, waving her hand, nodding Si.


    The villagers grumbled among themselves, after all, it was disturbing,
    the dolphin's sounds were haunting
    enough to remember forever,
    they were that unique.


    Fascinated children looked serious
    and giggled, joking indecent innuendoes,
    mothers shut them up, mock slapping their behinds.
    Silencio, yelled their fathers, wrinkling deep brows.
    even the smartest among them knew nothing,


    All drew blank, blanco,
    El color de Dios.  Whatever this was,
    it was a mystery, too strange to discover
    easily.  Eventually the town went to bed
    where all nigh a lone faint cry moaned out


    The waters, where a Dolphin
    sang refrains to those
    hearing the same cries earlier,
    now asleep, through dreams,
    a mournful call sprays across the waters


    El jefe de la policia woke up about 3 AM,
    so did una professora.  Fishermen heard it
    from their boats where nets were cast at sea
    all night.  A few people awoke, a tortilla maker,
    un doctor, it was faintly like an anthem,


    "Mexicanos al grito de guerra"
    martial music, slowly erupting from the deeps
    through darkness, penetrating the air
    veiled in a sweet tropical night
    with grief and awful loneliness.


    This was enough to bring anyone to tears
    those who heard these nocturnal chants
    vocalized by the same Dolphin
    Who all day uttered madness
    washing damaged nerves in salt, real ear piercings.


    A warbling, tremulous sound,
    a high wail, then a low one,
    tone-clusters across the waves
    singing moans, then squeaks, a wild lingo
    Este es totalmente loco, senor.


    Incomprehensible.  It sounds like trouble,
    the waves speak an alien language
    remote, untranslatable,
    known through heart and mind,
    they ring a vast alarm.


    Those who slept, tossed discordantly,
    waking up from bad dreams only to return to half-sleep.
    Folks awakened by the cries, lay still,
    reminded of the Dolphin
    the enigmatic king of night.


    The roosters sound first light,
    church-bells ring the dawn,
    time to get up, "Levantates,
    ninos, get out of bed, wash up,
    eat some fish and maize."


    Sun rises over the mountains,
    a clear day, slightly windy,
    greets inhabitants of the coastal town,
    children are off to school,
    Las senoras go out for the catch.


    Fishermen put their nets to clean,
    mend, air out, eat breakfast,
    then go home to sleep in peace
    while los ninos are away.
    Wives cook, scrub, and wash.


    About ten o'clock in the morning,
    though the Dolphin was on everyone's minds
    life was adjusting back to normal,
    Curious dwellers from the hills rode down on burros
    word had reached them the night before


    By homeward bound companeros
    who had come down hours earlier
    to purchase fresh fish for their familias,
    the news had already spread throughout
    la montanas, la populacion was very curiosa.


    When the Dolphin dazzled in again,
    morning rays of sol brillante
    glinted all around his mirrored skin
    The waters charged alive
    by his thrashing tail, when suddenly he articulated.


    Stuttering staccatos emitted from his vocal muscles,
    the blowhole uttered shattering phrases
    like electric shocks, startling everyone to attencion.
    Mexican grudges surfaced, humanizing the situation,
    guessing the purpose, reason, why, porque?


    Ay-ay-ay!, reverberated the musing of the crowd,
    words like serioso, Dios, Madona mia, Ayudame,
    resounded along the beach, children ran out of school
    to watch the commotion.  Sure enough
    the Dolphin squealed at the top of his voice,


    Chattering a kind of noise heard only in big cities
    honking horns, motorcycles speeding, ferrocarriles
    clattering the tracks, clicking wheels
    climaxing the point, Delphines espressiones
    idiomaticos son complemente incredible.


    What was he trying to communicate?
    Was it pain, disease, death?
    The Clattering of his overtones
    proved  almost deafening,
    Que pasa?  Que pasa?


    An unresolved mystery only increases
    human interest.  As the day before,
    our Dolphin made noise for siete minutos
    then left the area for twenty,
    returning to repeat the cycle until sundown.


    That night there were discussions
    at the cantina between the men.
    Some thought the Dolphin was a spirit
    returned to symbolize the imortalidad de Jesus
    others felt bad omens.


    Everyone had their theories.
    Some were personal, for example, the Dolphin
    was discontent because his mate died
    and this terrible litany was his last cancion,
    his ultimate words before the final solucion.


    Death, destucion, nada,
    despues del muerte de su esposa.
    this unforgettable lyric
    impinging the hearts of Mexican passion,
    the cries before suicide.


    No, No, still other theories went,
    the dolphins were being driven out by
    hoards of invaders, some fishermen saw
    unfamiliar dolphins in the area,
    a large number of them, in fact.



    Could it be they were displaced
    by another civilization and deprived
    of fishing grounds?
    I so that affects us too, the fishing folk.
    No, there were strong disagreements.


    You are all wrong, some one individual would expound.
    It's obvioso, he is trying to tell us una cosa.
    Something importante, we cannot understand, senores,
    Todo, believe me, we are estupidos,
    it is we who do not comprende.


    No! Absolutamente no!  Exclaimed a retired fisherman,
    Yo conozco estes Delphines, they are contento,
    they have no need to talk to us,
    I have given them much observacion
    I say he announced a special birth.


    Later that night, again the dolphin
    sang in plainchant.  His vocals caught the wind
    bringing inshore sound breezes to the hearing
    of those asleep or waiting.
    It did come, only this time, sadder, wiser.


    He was alone in the water tonight,
    thinking he would concentrate on certain tones
    people might pick up and recognize
    as he had learned to mimic human speech
    from the songs of the fishermen.



    Maybe the Humans will listen and comprehend
    the meaning of my tones.
    Hearken people, the waters rumble,
    unusual events are taking place
    deeply under-ocean.


    the terrain has been shaking way down below,
    quakings have frightened our matrons, young ones.
    According to our soundings, a vent has opened
    along the north rift of the volcanic zone
    and has opened up the land to compound earthquakes.


    These tremors have increased in magnitude
    during the past two days, according to our estimates
    we predict a major earthquake disaster is imminent.
    We urge you to evacuate the shore.
    there will be swells and tidal waves.


    Can't you understand my urgency?
    Whenever has a Dolphin come top shore
    clattering verbal attacks into the atmosphere.
    We know something heard below the surface.
    You are fine people, who cause no harm.


    We wish to warn your souls, go now,
    evacuate the shore, take your families and scram
    your town will be destroyed.
    Take refuge, take refuge away from the sea,
    coastal lands are dangerous.



    Hear me!  Hear me!  People in the town,
    an earthquake is coming
    to take your homes
    down to the sea, death snaps
    with your lives, go away, go away!


    The Dolphin repeated and repeated
    this message in vain.  the people
    were amused, they gathered round,
    but none moved away.  No one understood,
    his eyes roamed around to people in sombreros,


    The looks on their faces, he thought
    were strange, almost angry.  He was several
    Dolphin lengths away from the men
    staring at him almost with a vengeance,
    these people, he thought, were impenetrable.


    And he was right, no one knew anything.
    NO matter how he changed tune,
    his language, to make it more intelligible
    to Humans, the more curious it became to them,
    people just weren't that smart.


    Dolphins always knew this to be true
    humanfolk were kind of dumb, yes, they were smart
    in boat building, things of that sort,
    but when it came to sheer intelligence,
    Dolphins ruled the waves.



    Down the centuries, we have seen
    many shipwrecks, human tragedies,
    created by man's stupidity, wars
    and shipside cannon-fires,
    Human blood spilled seaward, disgusting.


    We know Man is basically unevolved
     yet knew we had a duty to inform
    the people of this village
    with whom we had a certain  bond
    sharing these fishing zones together.


    They were innocent and harmless,
    never tried to kill us
    being inedible perhaps?  We think not,
    knowing Dolphins are eaten by people
    elsewhere in the world.


    Here we weren't to their tastes,
    that's all, we knew it, they knew it,
    now everyone knows it.  Only they don't get it.
    All our speeches so in vain,
    People must be deaf to Dolphin facts.


    Otherwise they would flee for life.
    the oceans down below ablaze
    with volcanic action.  Magma
    erupts, the fault zones connecting,
    we can hear Earth's tensions increase



    Creaking the ocean floor, ready to snap
    and whiplash the lands,
    the seas shall rise in great waves
    as tidal forces crash right in
    and carry away what just crumbled.


    Dolphin tones transmit
    the message.
    Humans run away,
    flee for your lives.


    Acute underocean hearing
    senses rumblings deep down
    beneath the ocean floor;
    volcanics made upheavals


    Way below where fires boom.
    Earth quakings signal peril.
    Oceans surge, the worst
    is yet to come.


    These tremors have been strengthening
    for days, zig-zagging the grounds.
    Ocean bottoms lurch, then shift,
    low bass sounds pierce the deeps.


    Our bodies receive the shock-waves
    from volcanic earthquake sounds,
    as lightning, thunder!
    Magma pours out volumes

    Scalding the oceans
    vaporizing water at the vents
    where red-hot lavas ignite
    the salts to white-hot steams.


    We sense these events
    and picture them in sequence-
    the ocean is boiling
    as earthquakes increase.


    Earth's tectonic plates
    grind north and south at once,
    the coastal range of Mexico
    is earthquake-prone.


    Dolphin cultures measure
    earthquakes by the score
    and thousands even more.
    We tell you - THIS ONE IS DANGEROUS!


    Other coastal towns
    crumbles away destroyed before.
    Dolphins have observed downfalls
    all through the ages


    The rumblings we are hearing
    crack our consciousness in halves;
    One part whole, intact,
    the other blown away in vapor.


    Underwater explosions unleash forces
    capable of churning waves to foams.
    Terrors lurk below the surface
    undercurrents surge and swell.


    Dolphins are the first to know
    when sea upheavals do occur,
    if only people were cool enough
    to translate our language,


    They'd be in less trouble.
    Select one leader from a pod
    within our Dolphin nation
    and go warn them.


    Maximum assignments
    are especially difficult
    for any species,
    Dolphin or Human.


    How on earth, can one Dolphin
    speak to people
    who do not recognize our race
    as smart?  It's stupid.


    Regardless, peoples' lives
    are in question, go stir up a fuss,
    speak to them, perhaps a few wise
    men will understand.


    A bold leader volunteered,
    one especially vocal,
    a loud enforcer of his will;
    the fishermen all knew him.


    He demanded first choice
    riding the bow waves
    when boats went to sea,
    and was a leader among Dolphins.


    He planned his attack,
    simply, without guise,
    He would sleek into shallows
    up-close and agitate waters.


    Surely Humans would notice him
    would they be able to heed
    his warnings?  Earthquakes
    peak dangers in any language.


    To people, human words
    might best describe
    the lingo of Dolphins-
    sonic communications, echoing.


    Click, clusters of tones
    produce overtones,
    bursts of rapid sequences
    decipher the glooms.


    Dolphins are intelligent,
    they see right into YOU.
    Only the difference being
    people know little.


    What a race the Humans gender
    build great ships
    which sink straight down.
    On the whole Humans bring peril.


    The mission to save them
    has the probability
    of a percent or two,
    it's that bleak.


    They shan't hurt me, I know,
    though I'll be in fin's reach,
    my self-induced imbroglio
    will charm them into understanding


    A Plan into action.
    Evasively swim in
    using lateral motion
    side to side,


    Catch them unprepared.
    And when suddenly
    in their territory,
    I'll signal a scream,


    A cry, a sounding,
    force of air
    expressions of a language
    setting off alarm.


    Earthquakes rumble
    far below ground,
    Soon you will die
    if you don't leave right now


    Thrash my tail around,
    show mock threatening gestures.
    Mimic Human rhythms
    in speech and in sound.


    E A R T H Q U A K E S
    People flee for your lives,
    houses will fall
    rock walls shall crush you.


    Get out, get away,
    Go up to the hills.
    A tidal wave will come
    and sweep you astray.


    In Delphinese,
    it might sound like this:
    Alarum, Alarum,
    major danger, quakings.


    Songs sing shrill notes
    humans heed my tune.
    Get out while you can
    you still have some time.


    Yet what would they do?
    Just gather around
    the sands to watch
    this strange, wild, beast!


    (Expletive!) Why don't they listen?
    Surely my tone clusters
    sound an expression. At least
    they can get the drift


    Of intent, but NO
    they still pace around
    scratching their foreheads
    looking my way.


    Alas, this is desperate,
    I'll demonstrate reason.
    Seven minutes at the shore,
    Twenty past the reef.


    Precision timing
    will then prove
    I have something to say.
    Maybe only one will understand.


    Delphonics are easy
    once you get the sequence
    of tone clusters.
    I'm   s h r i e k i n g   D A N G E R !


    Listen to my volume,
    turned up loud like radio
    Certainly, there's meaning here
    Let my cries instill


    Fear for your lives,
    The quaking earth
    below the ocean floor
    will snap the fault line soon.


    Get out while you can,
    I prove these words to you
    by perfect timing.
    A warning, take heed.


    By sundown, the people
    were still standing
    on the beach.  Afterlight
    on their faces, they were beautiful,


    Colorful, unusual folk, kindhearted.
    People in this part of the world
    who like to play music, we heard
    at night all our lives.


    Tonight, I will make music
    for people,
    it will be sorrowful music
    crying for doom soon.


    A Dolphin too, must go fishing
    to sustain strenuous activities,
    and any hungry Dolphin
    gets food, fast, then rests awhile.


    A report to the clan
    was not encouraging.
    The town lights popped on,
    everything as usual.


    Little do the inhabitants know
    of impending disasters
    on a scale beyond doubt,
    many will die, others might drown.


    The Leader and his pod
    huddled in a circle
    discussing day's events,
    they were depressed.


    Their efforts seemed to no avail
    The Humans were now slumbering,
    Go sing to them now, let
    the message penetrate subconsciously


    Into their minds
    on a more universal plane;
    Perhaps the song may reach a place
    to ignite a single brain.


    At half-moon, the Leader
    swam close to shore
    and uttered this mournful tune,
    here in verbatim:


    "Human beings everywhere,
    we love your town,
    your people, laughing children,
    we share our fishing zones.


    We beg you out of conscience
    to guide your way uphill.
    Go higher, safer grounds
    until after the quake and tidal wave.


    I sing to you of Love
    and the Dolphin connections
    We like your people
    and wish you no harms.


    Go to the foothills
    where grounds will shake less.
    Take your people and animals
    go toward the eastern ridge.


    Save yourselves
    while you may.
    Life is so dear
    as to cry out this song.


    Hear the tones
    ring out in harmony
    even the high-pitched moaning sounds
    make sea-music sing.


    May my sound-effects
    impinge the mind
    of such a one who will wake
    up the clan to reality.


    Among us there are wise
    old Dolphin souls whose
    deep insight illuminates
    the truth O Human Beings.


    Singing till first light
    the leader then retired
    for the early morning
    to fish and ponder.


    The town was up as usual
    going about business
    as though nothing would happen.
    Meanwhile dramatic rumblings grow


    Harsher, broader.
    the quake will hit soon,
    A day or two at most.
    Try again this morning.


    Familiar faces greet
    the eyes of such a one
    brave enough to risk
    his life and fins,


    Ignorant of the coming
    cataclysm about to be released
    upon the coastal area
    After the quake, a flood.


    "My song keeps in tune
    the urgency of attention,
    Warning, Warning,
    I broadcast the news.


    Grave messages pour out
    from the deeps
    A schism in Earth's continental
    drift will crack today, tomorrow.


    Move while you may
    to drier territory
    Save your souls
    from death and misery.


    Be warned, O Human people,
    We love you with our passion,
    Yes,  P A S S I O N,  else why
    Do I persist so long and cry?


    After-midnight sighs
    ring around the depths,
    One Dolphin sounds
    lamentable regrets
    while the pod assents.


    Delphonic talking:
    squeaking arpeggios
    beyond the range
    of Human hearing


    Land Men before befell disasters
    Horrific devastations, native peoples.
    Dolphin memories go back hundreds
    thousands of generations, more,
    recalling catastrophic earthquakes.


    Humaniacal slaughters
    will not compare
    to natural debacles
    ATTENTION-W A R N I N G !


    We have seen the worst years earlier
    and the quake's magnitude coming
    measures high intense sound-waves.
    Prepare for a setback, a bringdown here,
    though most people can be saved.


    Cetaceans chattering
    Bottle nosed Dolphinese
    X-ray the situation,
    sounding underseas.


    At dawn THE QUAKE impacts with fury
    volcanoes rupture underwater,
    spewing magma into ocean
    The mountain floor retrenches deeply
    lower ranges pulse in motion.


    Earthquake jolts
    burst fault lines
    waters bolt
    ten magnitudes.


    Continental tremors jerk the Earth
    and walls crumble down at once,
    a force of higher magnitude sparks
    volcanic rifts; boom, buildings collapse
    as Dolphins peek heads out of water.


    Grounds shudder
    zany wave forms
    through all volumes
    of the sea.


    Herds of people run to streets,
    trees whip like tails upon the grounds.
    Beach sands quiver dune-like ripples
    Domicile roofs fall all around
    Folks disperse, the soil crackles.


    Ultrasonic communications
    report bas news throughout
    the Dolphin zones.
    Elsewhere it must be worse.


    Dolphin logic assembled facts in evidence.
    the quake is centered inland, a nasty fate,
    the area of utmost devastation occurring
    higher up the mountains, beyond, where
    Dolphins cannot see but only speculate.


    Perhaps cities do exist
    with pods of Men and Women
    might gigantic buildings
    fall to earth in rubble?


    Indeed, the elders postulated, Humans
    proliferate in million-fold pods.
    they multiply in herds, swarms invade
    beaches here and elsewhere, they're odd,
    what was just destroyed they build upon


    Fractures warp
    the lower ridges;
    Waters jostle
    Dolphins skins


    Look!  People disperse the beaches,
    except a few brave souls, hugging
    on doomsday to their final breath
    A tidal wave may come, though the wave
    is short, one could come in by stealth.


    Havoc strikes
    in any language.
    Dolphin of Human,
    Get wise!


    Free yourselves of gravity
    now at once, rise to the occasion,
    high up into the waters as Dolphins do.
    Be buoyantly alive, stay away from coasts,
    weather the tide and gigantic earthquake.


    Humans suffer needlessly,
    Weak foundations falter
    when shaking earth easily
    topples structures, people die.


    the herds moved away from shore
    out to sea, huddling, discussing events
    last few days.  Humans understood not
    our warning signals, universal S.O.S.
    cried too soon, too long, and more.


    Our duty performed,
    time to go on,
    evolve as Dolphins
    and salvage the day.


    Sonar soundings assess the damages
    at the greatest depths underseas
    where the bottom earth divides
    the earthquake fault line moves,
    thousands of underwater rock avalanches.


    Hear resoundings echo
    lower level changes
    in the seascape
    After-shocks will come


    To further warp underwater lands,
    above surface grounds, other edifices
    may tumble, volcanoes will erupt again;
    Earth is fired up with energy.
    We who inhabit the Oceans live not in vain.

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