David-Glen Smith - Poet - Father - Teacher
Hunched over and divine, the humpback whale dives into immeasurable fathoms of text, into handwritten gospel, dispensing metric counts of syllables within clouds of plankton or microscopic manna, lingering fogs of marine krill and left over scum of wandering monkfish—all the while motioning beyond the Known, the Seen.
White-haired, ruddy-cheeked— even in his dreams Brendan gains the burning sensation of salt on skin, salt as a deity’s essence rubbing up against his humanity. The sea transforming the saint to manuscript, to sacred writ, planing down all that is mortal, reducing his form into codex, to bound papyrus. Erasure of the mortal frame into an illuminated scroll—arabesque calligraphy converting the body to holy text.
Call him Leviathan. Behemoth. Ishmael. But do not limit him to these syllables or to the formula of these letters.
On his small drifting boat, as he sleeps, the saint builds bridges, creates hyperboles between calfskin and blubber. He sketches rough maps in charcoal on vellum scraps, narrow strips of leather—detailed records of steps across green-gray water.
Resurfacing, the whale shifts form to a creature of pebble and barnacle, echo and canyon--
The tongue burns the hand with scripture.
The Atlantic Ocean is to a book of gospels as a male humpback whale is to a cathedral: hallowed and sacred.
On the edge of the horizon his boat leans—a filament of meat caught between the teeth, between silence and the opening chant of morning mass, between burning match and exposed thumb--
For there are times when a whale is not a whale but an island.
The boat leans as a suggestive call from a street corner, syllables vibrate slightly upon release, rhythms tremble in the night air.
The entire being of a baleen whale becomes the essence of his song, the filtering of memory into a personal response, an echoing chant into the fathoms of water which call out for recognition, or prompt an obscene overture, graceless and churlish--
Sometimes a saint does not define himself as a saint.
The notion of the baroque tenses within the mating call of a male humpback whale; his open desires reverberate thousands of miles underwater, his declarations translate to ambient scriptures, the slow drift of continents, the drag of glaciers.
He becomes as a Latin phrase scrawled in pencil along the margin of a used book, the script mirroring waves, the curve of a tail-fin in apogee, or a hand gesturing. In return, the saint dreams himself leaning within his scriptorium, face lost in the depths of holy seas. He hunches close to the ebb and flow of fresh-inked scriptures, blue waves lapping against his coarse clerical robes. His shadow unfolds against the stone library walls, a blue-finned rorqual, breaching forward, then submerging into the tidal night.
For more information visit: http://davidglensmith.blogspot.com/.