Mr & Mrs Albatross
They can’t survive on plastic
Theirs is not to ask where they’ve been.
What they have seen? Were you faithful?
It’s just a matter of fact.
Microdots skimming Pacific waves.
Bathing in southernmost waters
on windy-sleety nights.
Waltzing with death under gathering cyclones
in the shadow of Antarctic Ice.
Oceans apart, a much hackneyed phrase,
means nothing to this dedicated pair.
There’s no boredom when survival’s the game.
No time for infidelity.
Meeting each year to dance their Tango.
Castanet beaks snap in mirrored choreography.
Preparation, preparation, starvation.
An egg nursed to ugly demanding fluff.
Daily sojourns. Kilometres in thousands.
Alternating teamwork pays off.
The fluff becomes a Heath-Robinson glider
making its final tumbling take-off
while their backs are turned.
With innate understanding they separate.
Not for them Peter Green’s soft-centred anthem.
Just Dame Vera’s aspiration to meet again.
A flowing tribute to these beautiful birds.
Just a few suggestions/edits for you to chew on:
2nd line – What they’ve seen and “Were you faithful?”
6th line in second stanza – mirrored choreography
1st line in last stanza – with innate understanding
Some good suggestions there. I will make some changes I especially like the word innate
I liked this piece, as a fellow Albatross fancier. I’ve recently read The Lonely South, by Andre Migot; in which he describes their strange nuptial dances – on Kerguelen island.
I do admire these wonderful birds, comical on land so graceful in flight. They are under a lot of pressure from plastic pollution now especially the ones that breed on Hawaiian islands.
It seems humanity is is making the same error as The Ancient Mariner.
LOVED it! I recommend a new documentary on Netflix. (Hardly ever go there it is so well…’nuff said)
Anyway, It is called ‘The Octopus, my teacher.’
The most beautiful documentary and this poem gives me the same feeling. Man has entered the sacred inner sanctum of the Albatross. That much maligned bird of great beauty.
An incredible poem .
Sorry to take so long to reply. I thought I had replied but I didn’t. Getting old I suppose.
You summed up my feelings about the way Albatrosses are treated perfectly. I hope thing can change before the disappear entirely. They are already in danger in some parts
I don’t use Netflix much but I did notice the octopus documentary. Haven’t looked yet but I did see a program on Discovery I think is about the same guy
Octopuses are amazing animals that’s for sure
I find this piece a lovable one. Good work.
Thank you very much S. These birds need a lot of love if they are to avoid extinction. I’m afraid for them
Enjoyed this poem. The couple are almost human-like in their ability to fly around the world and deal with all these issues and keep their relationship going.
Hi CW. Thanks for your insightful comment. If we are being pragmatic I suppose we say survival and conditions dictate animal behaviour, but it’s nice to humanise them. Pity they are under so much pressure from the very animals that admire their loyalty.