the little dolphin
Amanda, unlike you or I
Was a little dolphin, who had no tie
To a house and family in one street
Confining you and to whom you meet.
Her home was on the ocean tide
Far away, on the other side.
It was a happy time for her dolphin clan
As the destiny of man began
For the world in which they swam free
Was the vast expanse of the seventh sea.
On its shores, no man had reached
The sand was white, that the sun had bleached
And off the beach the loud surf cursed
As it crossed the reef, as time rehearsed.
The coral reef was their domain
That all around the palm trees framed.
In this place, where the sun shone free
And the water was clear, as the eye could see
They lived and played without a trace
Of the greedy hand of the human race.
Time passed without a care
In the ocean harvest, all could share
Its cycle of life soon betrayed
In a shimmering, silver shape displayed
The teeming fish, were a seething mass
The larger fish could all harass.
Feeding time was so much fun
When all the family, worked as one
Rounding the churning schools as tight
As the shining moon, in the sky by night.
Each in turn, they all would dart
Into that orb, that burst apart
Snapping here, snapping there
As little fish rushed everywhere.
Overhead, the birds joined in
Flocks of them, made so much din
Diving down from great height
And slapping the water, with delight
Then flapping back into the air
For the frantic fish, it wasn't fair.
Deeper down, in the water's gloom
A shadow lurked, as dark as doom.
Aware of danger lingering there
The old dolphins warned, Beware!
But they did not fear the threatening shape
Within the school, was their escape.
So close inshore, Amanda played
Among the living reef, arrayed
In colours of the universe
The coral forms were so diverse
Laid in bundles, bunched up tight
While others swayed towards the light.
Some with branches, Oh! so long
Wafted, rhythmic as a song.
Among this symphony of space
Was so much life, and so much grace
In colour, form and majestic flight
It all enhanced that magic sight.
Above this world, the sunshine glazed
The surface, which the waves erased
And yet, the mirrored glow broke through
In rays that bathed the scene below.
Suspended in those shafts of light
Hung countless demoiselles, so bright
Sparkling in the jewelled sea
Above the gay anemone.
This, was Amanda's special place
And time spent here, just seemed to race
Her Mother's call, not far away
Was usually why she couldn't stay.
Amanda grew, and the school moved out
And stayed at sea, for weeks about
On the ocean range, the waves grew rough
And the young ones soon had seen enough
But even in the foam flecked sea
The dolphin clan, were masterly.
They dived through waves, as high as ships
And surfed down troughs, into the rips.
Soon, they all were having fun
But Mandy, always noticed one
A strong young buck, who had no fear
And raced them all by flying clear.
As she watched, her spirits soared
While all around the ocean roared.
She learned this dolphin's name was Chuck
But matching him took more than luck.
She tried so hard, to stay abreast
But fell behind, just like the rest.
Reluctantly, she settled down
When she saw nearby, her Mother frown.
So Mandy nursed her wounded pride
And swam off, by her Mother's side.
On calmer days, the school relaxed
But their patience very soon was taxed.
So swimming fast, up from the deep
High in the humid air they'd leap
Spinning once, spinning twice
That show-off Chuck, could do it thrice.
In this way, the days elapsed
And life went on, till the next moon waxed.
While cruising on one moonlit night
A strange new creature, hove in sight
This behemoth belched, thick, black, smoke
That hung behind it, like a cloak.
Its sharp nose, cut the surface, clean
And pushed out waves, along its beam.
The dolphins, watched the ship change pace
And all at once, agreed to chase
This giant, from the other world
That steamed along, with wake unfurled.
They overtook, by swimming fast
And in the moonlight, very soon were past
They heard the heavy engine drum
And the wind, that made the rigging hum
Around the ship, they swam astride
Into the big bow wave, to glide
Throwing out fluorescent light
Like shooting stars, but twice as bright.
All was not as it might seem
Of this monster, that appeared a dream.
A relic, of that fateful night
Was waiting randomly, the plight
Of anything that ventured near
And who tried to pass, the veil of fear.
Strung for miles, across their path
A drift-net hung, an aftermath.
The presence of this living tomb
Left a universal sense of doom
For the many species that it met
Were tangled, in the ghostly net.
The awful spectre that it made
Enticed the dolphins, though afraid
To venture close and take a look
But some, in that eerie light, mistook
The cords which neatly overlapped
And so alas, they too were trapped.
Amanda pondered, like the rest
What tragic power was here possesed
Though caution and a sense of fear
Prompted her to stay well clear.
As she searched for a reason, Why?
From nearby, came a frantic cry.
She rushed towards the plaintive call
That came from in that dreadful wall
To find her Mother, struggling there
And she tried to help her reach the air.
Although they fought the captive rope
Of freedom, there was little hope.
The net held mother tightly clenched
And Mandy's flipper, twice was wrenched.
She heard a surface drum rotate
And saw the massive net vibrate.
Without heeding Mother's plea
It slowly hauled her, from the sea.
Tormented, Mandy thrashed around
As she felt her injured flipper pound.
Mortal anguish and despair
Were the reasons that she lingered there.
Alone then, in that awful place
Of comfort, there was little trace
And as if fate could have dealt worse
She sensed the presence of a curse.
The menacing shadow, always near
With the trouble, ventured to appear.
She felt the icy water rush
And saw just off, the cold jaws crush
A victim of that dreadful snare
Swallowed down, with one sharp tear.
Amanda's terror now was real
The creature looked for another meal.
A little dolphin, alone and ill!
The shark homed in, for an easy kill.
The ugly jaws, lined razor white
Opened, for a savage bite
But as those fearful teeth gaped wide
She lunged desperately, aside.
With panic, Mandy loudly squealed
As the large grey shadow slowly wheeled
And while the evil eye looked back
It launched itself, on a new attack.
No longer at her Mother's side
Amanda had no place to hide.
Resigned to a gruesome fate
She closed her eyes, the end to wait.
In darkness and with death so near
The faint alarm, was hard to hear
A single challenge, Could it be?
Came surging, through the lonely sea.
Amanda dared a furtive glance
At once, felt all her nerve end dance
A champion to her cause
Stormed into view, without a pause.
Intent upon it's easy meal
The shark made no attempt to heel
And so Chuck struck it, with such force
He knocked the monster off its course.
Amanda knew that Chuck was brave
But could he match that horrid knave?
And would he really overcome
The creature that weighed half a ton?
Although the dolphin buck was strong
The shark at least, was twice as long.
It's anger showed at being foiled
An easy dinner, had been spoiled.
In awe, Amanda watched the wrath
That turned the churning sea to froth
And as the giant monster writhed
From side to side, his razors scythed.
In and out, the dolphin dashed
And from every point, harassed.
But even though he was so fast
The uneven duel just couldn't last
And as the great mouth open slashed
The dolphin's dorsal fin was gashed.
Now his strength was wearing out
And soon, it would become a rout.
Just as it seemed that all was lost
And Chuck had fought, at such a cost
Suddenly, in a burst of sound
A cavalcade came bearing down.
The dolphins, rallied from their plight
Came charging in, to join the fight.
From every side they rammed the shark
As it sank slowly back, into the dark
In death, it finally rolled free
And drifted ... to eternity.
The victory, though a great relief
Did little to console her grief.
Amanda, who was now alone
Faced a world she'd never known.
But while she followed, quite bereft
The school of dolphin that were left
Her champion, who had given proof
She found no longer, was aloof.
Instead of racing far away
Chuck seemed quite content to stay
And when they worked the schools of fish
He helped her, catch the choicest dish.
She knew his interest wasn't feigned
And the sadness deep inside her waned.
Day by day, her memory blurred
While in her heart, new feelings stirred.
Despite her boyfriend's ugly scar
To Mandy, Chuck was best by far.
As life resumed its carefree plot
Instinct told her, she must not
Continue playing until the dawn
As soon, her baby would be born.
She waited quietly for the time
Her happiness, by now sublime
And finally, she gave birth
The cutest dolphin, on all the earth.
Amanda's baby was a trick
And tried to splash her, with a flick.
No matter how she tried to tease
The dolphins with her, were at ease.
Amanda showed her baby where
She'd spent her youth, without a care.
Together, they explored the reef
A sheltered world, beyond belief.
As Chuck watched his daughter grow
He taught her things that she should know.
He tried concealing how he felt
Whenever discipline was dealt.
Although he always looked quite stern
And sometimes, would be very firm
Amanda always knew that he
Was in every way, as proud as she.
This story tells of Nature's part
In the making of this world, an art.
Only when man interferes
Trouble all around appears.
Like everywhere that the sky turns black
With smoke and smog, from the chimney stack
And the stains that filter through the sea
All products of his lethargy.
Like every time that man pretends
The dolphins are his special friends
We see more fishermen encroach
In the oceans, with their nets to poach.
They indiscriminately snatch
With no concern for what they catch.
Perhaps its time to be more fair
And try a little more, to share
Before the list that's been compiled
Of the living things, that we've defiled
Becomes the portent of our fate
Approaching at alarming rate.
So, if the clock could be turned back
To put this world of ours on track
Would we have time, to be aware
Of this fragile planet, in our care?
Or, if we had a second chance
To come back, for another dance
What creature would you rather be?
A little dolphin ... Naturally!
Rodd Sherwin ©