His whale, his bulwalk by Derek Walcott

To praise the blue whale’s crystal jet,

To write, ‘O fountain!’ honouring a spout

Provokes this curse:

           ‘The high are humbled yet’

From those who humble Godhead, beasthood, verse.

Once, the Lord raised this bulwark to our eyes,

Once, in our seas, whales threshed,

The harpooner was common. Once, I heard 

Of a baleine beached up the Grenadines, fleshed

By derisive, antlike villagers: a prize

Reduced from majesty to pygmy size.

Salt – crusted, mythological,

And dead.

The boy who told me couldn’t believe hi eyes,

And I believe him. When I was small

 God and a foundered whale were possible.

Whales are rarer, God as invisible.

Yet, Through His gift, I praise the unfathomable,

Though the boy may be dead, the praise unfathomable,

The tale apocryphal.

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