Grey Beach Shores

RUMINATIONS

"I am buoyed by breaths of once living things."

  

~ From Where I Sit ~ 

a whale is a living, breathing

force of life with as much 

right to roam the seas

as I have the earth.

Its blood flows, its pulse pounds,

its appetite drives it forward,

and its joy as it leaps up

through the waves

must surely satisfy.

~ From Where You Sit ~

The Whale is a creature

and makes not

the slightest difference

except as a day’s work.

Your blood flows, your pulse pounds

your appetite drives you forward,

and your joy as you stalk him

through the waves

does surely satisfy.

 ​(Chapter  61)

Whether your hand be on the tiller

(Never dream with thy hand on the helm!)

or the bedpost,

nighttime has a crafty way

of turning dark things darker,

scarier, more threatening.

Especially at risk is that man

prone to contemplation,

for there are no limits to

such a mind when the sun sets

and the moon disappears.

All he can do is pray for morning,

when the light of day puts to rest

the torments of the night before.

(Chapter 96)

We fear what we do not understand.

Ignorance is not bliss

but an instigator, with

stories, fables, even downright lies

filling in the blanks

and believed true.

Men are moved by such things.

From ear to ear, from

man to man, from

ship to ship

careers are made,

lives changed,

and many, many

whales slaughtered.

(Chapter  45)

Chance, Free Will and Necessity

~ Necessity ~

The tasks of the day must be done

~ Free Will ~

Choose to do them or not

~ Chance ~

Toss in undependable risk 

or opportunity.

Free Will lets me wait for

Chance to rescue me from Necessity

but how long must I wait?

And when all collide – then what?

Chance by turn rules either,

and as the mat endlessly

weaves and intertwines,

tis Chance that

wields the last featuring blow.

(Chapter  47)

A profound hush surrounds the Pequod

as it drifts in the middle of nowhere

with a stillness almost preternatural

spread over the sea.

What goes on inside

a sailor’s mind?

Ennui?

Thoughts of home?

Other ways to earn a living?

As a man looks out

over endless nothingness

do thoughts work busily

inside his skull … or

is Ismael an

Anomaly?

(Chapter  59)

 

Let’s Connect

Look not for meaning
in coincidence and happenstance.
Look not for gods in mere men.
Watch reason and order
fly out the window if you do.
Watch chaos reign
and disaster loom
if you dare lose control
of the wits
God gave you
and that made you a
Reasonable Man.
(Chapter  71)

We are tied to Providence –
fate or luck or God –
and blindly follow beliefs
we were born into.
But when the even-handed equity
of Providence
lets us down once again,
for we have only the
management of one end of it,
What then?
We may as well lean back
and
let the waves
determine our direction.
(Chapter  72)

Tis in whaling as in Life,
there is no rest,
for one thing follows another.
No matter how arduous,
still harder tasks will come
and often a man just catches his breath
when along comes another.
So what is the point, exactly?
Like Pythagoras –
and sometimes feeling like Sisyphus -
we discover, we learn, we teach and we work.
Over and over and over again.
(Chapter 98)
 
Man hunts whale
whale does not hunt man.
And yet could, for there are
many more whales than ships,
a whale outweighs man and is in
his element in the vast ocean, while
man needs to be propped up
in flimsy buckets that crack and
break like teacups when the
mighty forces of weather and
waves work against them.
And all the while, the
whale glides by or
slips below,
to reemerge at his leisure
when the sea is smooth as glass.
​ (Chapter  57)

A
Sailor
is anchored

to his ship
His ship
to the ocean
The ocean
to the planet
The planet
which feels steady
and solid as granite
Floats and spins
held down
by He who planned it
And whose whims
test all who withstand it
 ​(Chapter 121)

Inches and yards do not mark
the true worth of any creature -
not whale nor man.
Ask the poet,
call in the philosopher,
to mine the meaning of
such a creature
whose immensity, character,
and soaring energy
display none of the
calculation or manipulation
of its captor.
Chapter 103)

I am buoyed by breaths
of once living things.
We are all connected,
all yearning towards
the same fiery sun
that gives us life, yet
burns undisturbed and unmoved
when we perish.
So we turn away and sigh,
joined to those
who come after.
(Chapter 116)