A dolphin in real life #poetry #Earthweal

We took our son 
on his new bike
to the old town.

Right along the harbour we went
and while we were all looking the other way
he turned to say ‘I just saw a dolphin in real life!’

Immediately excited, I turned
to look into those broad blue waters,
which were starting to phosphoresce with evening light:
I wanted to see that dolphin in real life;
we all did.

Not caged or cajoled
into performing tricks for grinning spectators; 
not swimming in a suncream-slick
of wealthy-tourist slurry
for whom the natural world
is just another commodity: 
an experience to be Instagrammed
and then forgotten instantly,
immediately the like-count dies away.

All eyes sought the dolphin in real life,
then there it was:
My heart leaps up
when I behold
a dolphin in the bay.’

How the dolphins would cackle
to see us chained to desks,
imprisoned within offices ‘in
air-conditioned limbo

perhaps they already know,
the whole broad sea teeming with their laughter
until we catch it in the
broad, obliterative sweep
of the consumptive trawler net.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

Written for Earthweal

For this week’s challenge, Brendan has asked us to:

Write a poem that introduces the reader to the environment you live in –a landscape shaped by time with a culturally diverse ecosystem (with human, animal and non-animal elements). Widen the focus, deepen the gaze and green the voice. Be wild. Gallop and fly and dive a textures of suburban spring afternoon. Language is your friend and opponent here: be florid and peculiar but particular. What is in the petri dish of the verse-captured moment that undulates and cavorts and cha-cha-chas at the end?

I went blue rather than green, but to the same end. It was quite something, a week after watching ‘Seaspiracy,’ to see a Dolphin swimming wild in the Adriatic. Perhaps they are a little safer here from the broad sweep of the trawler net.

The real dolphin in real life! Music sample taken from ‘Porcelain’ by Moby.

40 thoughts on “A dolphin in real life #poetry #Earthweal

Add yours

  1. And yes I love how the Dolphins do naturally play in their own environment… although some poignant reality to your poem’s finale… 😥😍🐬

  2. I really, really love the last 3 stanzas. Seeing dolphins and whales and sea turtles and … okay pretty much any kind of sea life – I find incredibly exciting. I think it’s the closest I’ll get to seeing a Martian. I know these animals exist (unlike Martians!) but still – it feels like such a privilege to see them in the wild. It’s a world so outside my own.

  3. Just to know that wild animals still exist gives us hope that we too will find our way out of the corporate cages and back into a state of bliss someday. Excellent poem.

  4. I was moved first by your haunting, eloquent, longing, even sad poem and then moved again by your vibrant video! What slow, graceful curls! <3

  5. I hope your dolphin steers clear of the net. I cant fathom how driftnet “fishing” is allowed any more. Horrifying. How awesome to see them free, happy and in the wild. Thanks for sharing that moment with us.

  6. A special moment turned into a powerful poetic message. 🐬
    They are something to see in the wild. 💓
    I started watching Seaspiracy yesterday. I couldn’t continue. 😭

      1. Yes, it was. That is why I could not. I will do what I can and look for ways to do more, but I could not watch the torture and capture of those beautiful animals. 😭 I appreciate you sharing important messages, in the many ways that you do.

  7. Any creature in its natural environment is a treat. Thank you for taking us along on your family adventure.

  8. trawlers are astonishingly soulless, heartless reapers. That some dolphins manage to survive – we can only hope they manage to evade more of our human traps ~

  9. The only time I have ever seen a dolphin in real like was at the Brighton aquarium, so I was enthralled by your poem and the accompanying video clip, Ingrid. Nothing wrong with going blue! I would love to walk along the harbour by the Adriatic – and see a dolphin. What a vivid description in the phrase ‘starting to phosphoresce with evening light’. I hate to think of dolphins swimming in ‘a suncream-slick of wealthy-tourist slurry’ – you made it sound extra disgusting. I agree with Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

    1. Yes, that’s it exactly – I think the dolphins have more sense! I saw then once before at Portpatrick a very long time ago, and almost saw some in Malaga last year, so it was quite exciting!

  10. To see dolphins “in real life”is to really be present, and that is a gift from the deep in the moment, surfacing with joy. I’ll be at the beach of the Atlantic this weekend — how long has it been? — and it’s always a joy to see dolphins weaving in and out of a wave-set. Maybe they will help ferry my mother’s ashes to the beach love she so cherished. Thanks for bringin’ it – Brendan

  11. “not swimming in a suncream-slick
    of wealthy-tourist slurry”
    “the whole broad sea teeming with their laughter
    until we catch it in the
    broad, obliterative sweep
    of the consumptive trawler net.”

    Great lines, Ingrid and a powerful poem. Kids have that way of noticing things that we miss!

  12. “a dolphin in real life”
    I believe I have heard their laughter, and also the silence when it is unnaturally stopped. I was present to it in a Virginia beach morning, with brown pelican overhead paralleling a line of dolphin weaving in and out of the water.

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