Shall I tell you a tale of a whale?
and of missing sons and daughters?
of fears and tears through so many years
a tale of deep dark waters?
The best of friends through thick and thin
who did everything together
who camped and fished and swam and wished
swore friendship forever and ever.
Then came the day the boy fell in
the girl tried hard to save him
“the boy is lost,” his parents cried,
and soon all the grownups gave in.
But the girl was quick, knew this was untrue
she refused to give up hope
she began building a vessel on top of a trestle
in Pop’s shop, way down the slope.
With tools she worked from dawn till dusk
hammering bodies and sawing the tail
created of metal and canvas and glue
the little girl built an enormous blue whale.
The grownups looked on, sympathized in her grief
and muttered, “Soon she’ll return to the world.”
but no one understood the little girl’s plan
for though little, she was no ordinary girl.
One early morn' it was finally finished
she said a short, quiet prayer in a hush,
she unlocked the doors and aimed for the dock
and from the shed she burst forth in a rush.
Faster she ran, climbing in the odd invention
closer and closer she came to the brink
until they both fell, this brave girl in strange whale
and beneath the waterline they did quickly sink.
And as they moved down to unfathomable depths
she kicked little legs to navigate through the sea,
she said, “Starfish, help me find my missing friend
light the way through this wet galaxy.
The grownups refused to believe me,
they gave up on the boy much too soon,
foolish were they, mourning hollow, sad graves
to hope and to chance it appears they’re immune!”
The little girl kicked, staying always afloat
as her giant moved slow under current
she called the boys’ name into watery halls
unprepared for the approaching deterrents.
A leak, she noticed, at the stern of the whale,
just as nuts, nails, and bolts began to shake
they burst out of place, let the water flood in
as her armors were by water displaced.
She sucked in a breath as her heart started to pound
and she could barely find which way was up,
… The shark had been watching and waiting for a time,
and in one swift move gobbled her up.
Back on the dock, her father stood sadly
watched the glassy water with sad, solemn eyes,
her mother grabbed at her throat, screamed out in madness
how had the sea taken so many young lives?
“Let me tell you a tale,” the father said at her grave,
“Of missing young sons and brave little daughters,
know that our tears will last many more years
our hearts will be forever as dark as these waters…”
Back underwater, the little girl crouched,
gobbled up by the rustless steel shark,
she uncovered her eyes, found her lungs were still dry,
and the light that illuminated the dark.
“You’re safe,” said the boy, as he manned the controls
he stood a bit taller and a bit broader now,
but his face was the same, and as she ran to his arms,
she cried, “I knew it. I knew it, somehow.”
“It’s time to go home,” the little girl said,
“We’ll turn around and head straight for the shore!”
“Hold on,” said the boy, with a grin on his face,
“We still have some time to explore!”
And amazed and awed, she gazed out the porthole
as they moved through schools of fishy adolescents
she looked on in wonder as jellies floated by
and was stunned by the angler’s fierce phosphorescence.
The goldfish were gilded and glittered in the sun,
and the seahorses – made of metal and springs -
danced a romance in the darkness of caves
their fins fluttering quickly like wings.
“It's time,” said the girl, with a hand on his arm,
and the boy agreed with a nod of his head.
“It’s amazing,” he sighed, “empty gravesites topside…
We were lost, we never were dead.”
With a crank of the wheel, and a step on the gas,
the boy steered his steel shark towards the shore,
“We’re not the only ones,” said the boy to the girl,
and he pointed out as she noticed one more…
A golden beluga, swimming alongside,
within, another young girl waving ‘hi’,
followed by a tin turtle who pushed through the waves,
holding twins the girl thought had died.
An octopus joined them, his head made of copper
And within, a boy managing hydrodynamics
And another body appeared and another face yet,
Until they were a shimmering school of mechanics!
Her mother, still mourning, still dressed in black robes,
her cries breaking down to a choke,
heard the call of a daughter calling her name
damned the sea again for making such jokes.
But the voice called again, clearer this time,
and her mother looked out towards the shore,
she saw her young daughter, and her daughter’s young friend,
and among them she saw many more.
She clutched to her heart and she called to the town,
“They’re back, they’re alive! Come and see!”
Parents saw the children they thought were all ghosts,
kissed their faces and dropped to their knees…
Let me tell you a tale of a whale and a shark,
of once-missing, now-found sons and daughters,
of fears and tears through so many years
Dispelled by bravery found in dark waters.
4/16 - cleaned up the pace a bit and made some minor changes.