6/28/23 Workshop – A Poem by Stan Heleva in a Play by Michelle Pauls

       Stan Heleva and Michelle Pauls

When We Were Whales* – by Stan Heleva

We knew nothing of the legs we had shed
As we swam in the Peruvian desert
Nor how they had become unnecessary
Not an inkling of immanent return had we, nor again why.

We had only silent ballet, no music
Turning ourselves over in the murky sun
Only to dart in to tear more flesh from our fellows
Our tusks glinting dully, our beards stained with blood.

Our name, Leviathan Melvillei, was unknown to us
And might have remained so for all the good
It has done dead whale or dead poet: we had no tune I repeat
We taught them only to cry in pain; they made of it a song.

*From Michelle Pauls’ Forthcoming play, “It’s Complicated….This Gift of Life.”

Reflective writing prompt:
Write about when we were something else.

4 thoughts on “6/28/23 Workshop – A Poem by Stan Heleva in a Play by Michelle Pauls

  1. David Hodges

    We used to be carried, and when we rode the shoulders of others, we gave not a thought to our weight, our balance, the precariousness of living so high off the ground. We carry others now and think of nothing but the danger, the height, the greed with which gravity would pull our loved ones all the way underground unless we keep our grip and push always upward, yearn always upward.

  2. Victoria Blake

    Death of a Shark
    When I was a shark, nothing could stop me!
    On a good night, I played ’til day!

    But I’ve lost my eye and my rack is too loose now.
    I’ve lost my English – my balls just don’t float like they used to.

    In a shiver of sharks, I could bank with the best of them. Now the only thing sinking is me.

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