Poem – With Respect to the Whale (By David Russell)

With Respect to the Whale

Oh, man – foul carnivore!
Gorging beyond all need for sustenance,
Gorging beyond even your body’s bounds!

And is this a fixation on your prey,
A lust for prey-communion?
Willing your own, final annihilation
By turning into quarry
That great, that fine, that more than any beast;

Sea-mammal – in its form a synthesis of elements,

Model of global harmony,

Sea-mammal – its pure song of sight and touch

A blending of all sense, beyond man’s symbols.


Oh, man! Knowing yourself so small,

Are you in full immersion lost

In dental agony of harpoon barbs,

Asphyxiate in quicksand blubber?


Or, in false striving

To cheat the others of fair depths

Would you burst, flounder, cast up useless bones

Sick binder for your film

Of mineral perversion?


Oh you, that made of noble forms

Cheap factories, demolished in a day

For pulp, for ballast in the supermarket

Without the dignity

Of geriatrics’ corsets;


Oh you, who pay mock homage

To rare or extinct species

Behind museums’ glass, in research confines

To rare or extinct species – know your vanity!


Know that the see-through panel

That seals rare specimens from mundane soiling

Is to yourselves a mirror! There your end . . .


With one proviso – when your vile exertions

At last become fulfilled among yourselves

And you mere cinder-blistered slime


No species that survives will honour you;

In all your seeming strength your final weakness

Cutting your lifelines with your every grab

For further power and satiation.


The time to halt is now; let live and know –

Abjure corrupt proliferation, grow

In numbers’ confines, species’ truest bounds.


Author Bio:

David Russell was born in 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube.


This poem is part of the complete collection; Speculum: Collected Poetry and Prose, by David Russell.

View or Download the complete collection here in PDF format.

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