The Magnificent Eubalaena glacialis
2019 Right Whales, High School, Poetry
Once, Whalers hunted you,
When all you wanted was to peacefully swim and feed
On the zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus that you need.
We starve you now with change of climes of copepod food,
our hands work as with harpoons and just as rude,
How could you still be hunted by fishermen’s
and in your homes go toxic trash pools
and boats that stab you driven by inattentive fools?
And when you’re taken by an uncaring raft
who will then protect your calf?
How could those in power betray for greed and oil and fuel?
And our careless pollution you?
From millions to thousands to a few hundred
We stand indifferent to all we’ve plundered.
Will children’s children not witness the magnificent exhale
Because of the plight of the North Atlantic Right Whale?
I created this poem because I wanted to make a positive contribution to the plight of the right whale, and provoke thought and interest to our relationship with the Earth’s ecosystems. I always enjoyed whale watching whenever we visited Cape Cod, and it seems sad and unfair that my kids (and their kids) may grow up without ever experiencing something as magnificent as a whale breaching at sea. Whales are an integral part of New England culture, and they should be revered for the contribution they made economically, and now as a barometer of our efforts in ecological rectitude. Recently I visited a whaling museum in New Bedford, and I was inspired by the size and majesty of these gentle giants. In my research of them I was fascinated by their eating habits and raising of their young, and I was also astonished and saddened to learn that only a few hundred of them remain after centuries of hunting and oppression by human activity. If the species were to go extinct then the plankton which they keep in control could possibly begin to multiply unchecked, leading to increases of CO2 in the ocean that will harm wildlife populations further. After becoming aware of what has been hurting them, I plan on taking action that will spread awareness of harmful human activity and contribute to possible solutions to limit or halt further damage to the North Atlantic right whale.