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Eye of the Whale

March 15, 2021

We paddle out through coral shoals –

looking for breech, for spray,

for footprints of tail on water—

the sight of glistening fin.


Something has called me to this bay

for months now, across thousands of miles–

some longing for communion, for mystery.

But today I am quaking with an old fear

inside me—about my own fate,

about the fate of the earth,

about the fate of love.


And so I have come to witness

thousands of pounds of stardust,

breaking surface, to spin in sunlight

and disappear again into the depths.

I have come to hear the stories

that live in these whale bones,

pouring through phonic lips in clicks

and whistles, in lyric melodies and lullabies

of primal seas and deep space.

Eons pass, civilizations rise and fall –

and still this humpback song goes on.


We see them close to us now—

a mother who swam 3000 miles

to arrive here, half-starved to birth

her young in these amniotic waters.

We come close, but not too close—

and when it is time, slip into the sea,

naked beside them—so that suddenly

I am looking directly into the shining eye

of a calf and she into me. I stay—

for as long as I can hold my breath,

I stay in the oracle of this gaze

that dissolves all fear.


Back in the kayak—I cannot speak.

This is what wanted to be remembered

in me. Species come and go,

continents crumble—and yet this eye

looks out from the center of the milky way—

and we look back in awe. What it is to feel

the whale’s eye imprinted in the heart of the heart,

where stories fall away—where even now

a silence, that is a presence, is being born.


©Laura Weaver

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