The Belugan Sagas

BELUGAN SAGA I
Chapter One
A FIERCER STORM
BELUGA WHALE
700,000 B.C.
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
    The turbulence.
    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.
    Fearfully, fearlessly,
    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.
    Our Bull-Male-Leader
    Knew the route, others did as well.
    "Don't panic."
    "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.

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