Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Massive but friendly, these giants of ocean -
majestic, questing, yet curious to know us,
humpbacks in cavalcade along the East Coast.

But perhaps tossed and tumbled
by a wanton rogue wave,
or tempted, distracted by a rippling strong current,
a baby whale strayed too far from its Mum.

A local pair heard the sad night-time callings,
a long sonic singing as the young calf crooned on,
soft-breathed smudged calls 
for a stressed, waiting parent.

For days it was trapped in the wash of flat waves,
its airy spouts slowing to fragile short puffs
as crystal tides ebbed, coolly indifferent.

Such a gamble, but a mission,
and our best and our brightest come gladly to rescue,
bringing ropes, boats and dredger
to refloat this baby, to help her swim free.

They struggle, they strain
with the whale's ten tonne weight.
They must keep her straight, 
not let her roll over,
with a real threat of drowning
as the swell rushes in.

Two tow ropes have snapped,
and despair's setting in.
But there's too much at stake
to give up this fight,
as the whale lifts a flipper, 
salutes to the sky.
Perhaps it's a sign! 
But we won't say "goodbye".

The next morning brings more ropes, 
a second new harness.
And the whale shifts. It leaps.
It clears the last sandbar.
With a flash of its tail it swims out to sea.

A sacred wild moment - hope now transcendent
where we thought there was none.

© Barbara Boyd-Anderson