BELUGAN SAGA I
A FIERCER STORM
Arctic Ocean, Greenland Sea
Winter, Fishing Zones
© Beluga Whales, Courtesy Vancouver, BC Aquarium
Deep midnight screams
A piercing wail,
Belugas utter dreams.
Sounding seas alarm,
Clouds rain white hail.
The Herds lower down
Where freezing pellets cannot go.
Coming up for air, it's dangerous,
To be struck by hail stone force
Smack upon one's blowhole.
Wait for an interlude
From the air's waves;
These gales whip sharp hooks.
Dry-ice pounds our sides,
Scarring a Whale's good looks.
Sheer patience rules the ways
Calculations plot the length
Of storm, its fierceness
Measures all memories against
Tempests in history and this is IT!
Garbled rhymes scatter all around
Communications falter, halt.
North-winds slam dreadful bites
As worst-case-scenarios drive home.
Obliteration from the sea map,
What Whale can drink the air?
Wiser Ones knew the quickest route
To the closest point for protection:
Lakes hidden in ice caves.
Others followed cautiously,
Swiftly while inhaling
Oxygen, nitrogen, salt-water air.
But these frozen stones
Sheared raw wounds upon our hides.
We zigzagged paces inland
A thousand Whale-lengths forward.
(Five miles to a Human)
To the longed-for safety zone.
Yet this storm which froze upon us
While fishing, quickly changed direction
And we were caught cross-winded,
Thrust between waves juxtaposed
With hailstones firing projectiles bullet-like.
Mothers, fathers, flanked their babies,
Swimming slowly in a water-nest.
Take a drought of air - Fast,
And come right back down.
The furies blast great harm.
Aunties cried: "How much further is it?"
Sonars were confused,
Directions lost their accuracies.
Seas foamed, the waves reversed;
Cold meteors burned our flesh.
Knew the route, others did as well.
"A way will be found."
"Keep down and cover the youngsters."
Visibility is zero
In any language,
Belugan or Human.
It was THAT bleak.
Few soundings got through.
As shallow waters loomed in view,
Ice-caves struck between
Our conscious minds thinking
How close we were to death,
Life and sanctuary.
As we enter huge rooms,
Mothers murmur the names
Of those lost at sea.
Wimpers roll out
On bands of moaned phrases.
Counting the Dead and Lost
Was fearsome as we huddled
In dark freezing quarters, fish-less,
Waiting out the storm,
Praying, as in prayer, for our survival.
Fathers missed their mates,
Feeling through hopeless hope
For their safety still at sea.
In the craggy deep-freeze gloom,
Silence sounded bleaker than the blackest black.
It was awe-full
To sound the cries
Of loved ones missing,
One quarter population
Damaged in the ragings of the sea.
Damn, Damn-it Hail Stones,
Sparks Spook hot pains.
Shrieks ache Lives gone
In the hollows of harsh waters.
We heard no echoes scream last tones.
By morning Nature's madness abated,
Seas shuddered in murky palls and rain.
Gray, lifeless. When we reentered
We heard scant calls, Hello? O.K. Our lost families
Had found refuge several caves away.