I ache to live as poets past could live,
to “live gladly” in the presence of
“the enormous invulnerable beauty of things.”
I long to celebrate this great whale skeleton,
this architecture of vertebrae
graduated like cathedral columns
or the thick-wound bass strings of a sunken harp,
receding with the measured rhythm of an unsung hymn,
sinking like a fallen tree into the earth, into the sea again,
still wearing textured ravelings of skin,
revealing kinship, in its mighty decomposition,
with our own furred bodies.
We late poets are so confused by all this misplaced splendor
–a spring-like February day, a lone monarch.
These whale bones on the beach stir fears
about warming seas, starving pods,
disorienting underwater explosions.
“We are fools,” Jeffers believed,
“If we refuse the inhuman beauty, to chase our own minds and make
Which are meaner and easier–”
A century later, we are called to perhaps an even harder
balancing act than his, the soul-lacerating pain
of owning the destruction we have wrought
while at the same time holding and loving
what is still so beautiful.
Deborah Bachels Schmidt
quotes are from Robinson Jeffers’ “Nova” and a draft of “The Ocean’s Tribute”
The gray whale was discovered on Limantour beach, Point Reyes, in April 2019. It was one of half a dozen or more gray whales that washed ashore in the San Francisco area in the Spring of 2019. They are believed to have starved to death due to – Climate change, over fishing, pollution… Any one or all of these reasons and possibly some not considered or even known about. A sad reminder of where we might be heading.
This drawing was the condition of its remains in June, 2019.
Copyright © 2016/2019
Artist Copyright - All works of art within this site are protected under U.S. copyright laws and international conventions. No portion of the artists works or statements may be used, downloaded, reproduced using any means, copied, linked to, or transferred electronically, without prior written permission from the artist.