The sad half-written poem scrawled
on the brown cracked bench
due for the poetry group in an hour and a half
never did get completed
as the captain announced
that an orca had been spotted
50 degrees off starboard,
I rose, united with others who were once strangers
port, starboard, left, right
determined, Yes, the other side
scurried with armfuls of books,
laptops and backpacks and children in tow,
elders teetering at the elbow
standing here together at the rail
watching gray waters and rolling waves
wondering what kind of day
it might turn out to be
what kind of surprise might possibly
be waiting just below the surface,
hoping for a sign, a spotting,
a different ending to the day
between the grief of friends we had left,
keep leaving behind,
the long trek home ahead,
with the anticipation of heavy traffic…
Then! A rippling of waves, a fin!
One! Two! Black fins rolling
side by side together
an elegant dance
a flash of white,
a belly, an eye
as we point and cheer
one, two together –
Can you believe!
The miracle of this day
the surprise of this passage!
Then closer yet, one, two, three – Five black fins
break side by side rolling,
rolling, rolling through the waves
coming closer and closer
as words turn to shouts
Can you believe it!
You could go a long way to Alaska
and never see anything like this!
Yes! What a birthday it has been for the young
girl with hair wild and black in the wind exclaiming
which makes me wonder on all the poems
waiting out here to be discovered,
breaking forth from gray seas!
All that is out here, here on the deck
away from our lostness, outside of our grief
out Here – Here in the bright May late afternoon and sparkling light
and rolling sea!
Come out! Come out!
Come and see the wonder of it all!
All that sends us off the ferry with exclamations of delight
and stories to tell –
the surprise of a passage,
the wonder of the sea,
this black fin then four, then five!
Did you see? Did you see!
This poem revealed in the wonder of time!
Late Monday Afternoon, May 8, 2017
(Completed in time for the poetry group at 7pm that night!)