The whales are dying now,
up the beaches
Black dice reckoned under
the sun’s watchful gaze.
Sweat on the preacher’s brow
as he talks of damnation.
The whales are in love
with no one. They wanted to die
without any explana non.
He mops his brow and quotes
Malcolm Muggeridge on
‘The collapse of Western Civilization.’
The book he waves in the air
is as black as whaleskin .
He urges people to make their decision.
The whales have make their decision .
An awful silence surrounds them.
Like a ruined castle they lie
still, passive, beyond explanations.
Beads of sweat on the preacher’s brow
like small clear animals clinging
to a rock face or tiny
transparent whales who have
flung themselves from the
boiling sea of his eyes
into a slow certain dying,
the sad music in their brains
a piper’s lament from that old castle in
the mist thickened night.
`15,000 cinemas across this land
depicting every sexual act
known to the human imagination! ‘
shouts the preacher.
His voice is a door slamming shut.
The sea’s noise is
a vast intake of breath
A gesture in a room
to break the silence.
The whales have broken the silence.
They are the colour
of the preacher’s harsh words.
The white foam rushes to embrace them
like Mother and Father .
The whales do not want to know.
And now there are people
sprawled on the beaches, chained
together by `the human imagination’
All the music has bled out of them,
drained from the ends of their fingers
splashed from the loudspeakers
of their wallets …
And at the end of the service
people walk forward
perhaps it is ‘the collapse
of Western Civilization I that moves them
or the `sad music’ of their `slow certain dying’
that guides their feet.
And at the end of this poem
a strange light comes
off the bodies of the whales
gathering up the shadows
like driftwood and splashing
them against the far wall.
You would think the shadows
would make the words
scrawled there hard to read
however, I find it’s at a time like this
I see the writing the clearest of all.