dVerse OLN–a Whale of a Time

Image: BBC

Today, I’m linking a previously posted poem, one that I wrote using homonyms in the Sestina prompt, for dVerse OLN. It was the last, end-hour poem to go up. I am giving it a quick facelift. Coincidently, it is about whales. Thank you, Lillian, for sharing Provincetown with us–reminding me of my favorite, now-deceased poet, Mary Oliver.

A Mother Mourns
A Sestina

I saw her in the early hours’ mist,
just before sun broke through, heralding morn.
I heard a sound—perhaps a cry, a wail—
featuring pain that could not be missed.
An empty call of someone who must mourn,
a loss as deep as human, a grieving whale.

Who would expect such distress from a whale,
echoing slowly as though held back by the mist?
She shared her sorrow with me and I, too, began to mourn
the babe she held aloft in this quiet morn.
I thought of death—the one I loved and missed.
In silence I stood and listened to her wail.

Once again, I heard her, another wail—
the splendor of this creature, of this whale—
a mother’s angst that could not be missed,
so haunting in this atmospheric mist.
I’d awaited this day, a glorious morn,
but even breaking waves sprayed tears, as if to mourn.

She writhed in billowing whitecaps, her body seemed to mourn.
Above, a seagull cawed, squawked its own wail,
its flight toward the sun, toward dawning morn.
Below, a stillness shrouded mother whale,
in blue green seas, in dispersing mist.
Again a deep cry that I could not have missed.

I, too, have lost a child whose love I’ve missed.
Oh how I keen, and still I mourn
as I watch myself disappear into the mist
leaving behind my memories in an agonizing wail.
I think we are one—my spirit and the whale
as we both weep tears in this early morn.

As day moves on and leaves behind the morn,
we can’t stay fixed on what we have missed.
I bid goodbye to my mother whale
to face the present, so as not to mourn.
Then in a distance, I hear her–another wail
I carry it with me beyond the mist.

I’ll not forget mother whale who I met this morn.
Another day, in morning mist, I’ll think of all we both missed,
and learn how to mourn in a soundless wail.




12 thoughts on “dVerse OLN–a Whale of a Time

  1. It is so very sad and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar says:

    This made me pause for a bit – the emotions bubbling up in me. You have expressed your grief here beautifully… I’m really at a loss for words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob Kistner says:

    Hey Victoria — Hi poet!. Wanted to let you know I am “temporarily” sightless in my right eye from a retinal disease. It is a struggle fir me to write, but I will still wrote my pieces, going very slowly. Reading at any length is extremely difficult, and causes painful headache — so wanted to say thanks for contributing to OLN. But I won’t be able to read what you wrote, yet I wanted to visit. I spent a little time writing this best I could with one eye, i copied it, and I am pasting it in here to say hi. Got an operation coming up in about a week when the infection is down. Hopefully things will get back to normal.thanks, Rob

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lillian says:

    I had not seen this when it was posted in its original. I am so glad you posted it here. I am reminded of the publicity given to a whale last year who carried her dead calf with her for days.
    The keening of grief is so powerful in your words here. And the use of the morn/mourn; wail/whale etc flow so smoothly through the emotions you project. We are drawn into the sphere here…the ocean, the whale, the mourning.
    “I, too, have lost a child whose love I’ve missed.” If this line is biographical and not fiction, my heart goes out to you…it does to any mother who loses a child. It is not right in the sense of how life is supposed to be. My mother lost her only son (my only sibling) suddenly, when he was 51. She described it as a ripping out of part of her body…and empty hole…a grief profound. Your words here convey that so very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. msjadeli says:

    Victoria, you pulled me into the sensory experience as a witness to such agony, as well as sorrow for the two mothers sharing loss together. Using the homonyms works so well here with the words you chose.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Truedessa says:

    (sigh) You have expressed grief in beautiful words. I thought of the whale who had a calf die and she carried it upon her back. Mourning for the loss. I cannot imagine how heavy the weight would be to bear the loss. The sestina was the perfect form to carry your message of grief. I could hear the song of the whale.

    Beautifully done!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue says:

    Oh, that is just so powerful, Victoria…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. memadtwo says:

    Both beautiful and heartbreaking. Grief has a common language for all species. The sestina form suits the subject well. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Bodhirose says:

    This brought a lump to my throat and a tear, Victoria. Animals and human share so much…grief being just one. My heart ached for that whale and the witness who suffered loss too. A beautiful sestina. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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