Wednesday, 27 January 2010
I am writing a poem called The Whale. It’s about a man but these are some of the things I have learnt.
Whales used to be land mammals (they, like the Modernists and the Vorticists before them decided to exchange “the one ELEMENT for the OTHER. The MORE against the LESS abstract.”) They wanted to be in the sea.
Their closest living relative is the Hippopotamus. Some whales still have four limbs, complete with digits, that they keep hidden within their bodies. Perhaps one day, when the seas begin to bubble and dry up they will peel back their skin and clamber back to land using these helpful, concealed arms and legs.
Whales are made of blubber, a four chambered heart and flukes. They are very poetic animals and hear sound through their throat. It has been known for a whale to behave suggestively, this generally concerns the blow hole.
Just don’t tell the plankton.
A Poem by Hilaire Belloc
The Whale that wanders round the Pole
Is not a table fish.
You cannot bake or boil him whole
Nor serve him in a dish;
But you may cut his blubber up
And melt it down for oil.
And so replace the colza bean
(A product of the soil).
These facts should all be noted down
And ruminated on,
By every boy in Oxford town
Who wants to be a Don.