To Be Great, Be A Whale

misheard line from a poem by Fernando Pessoa

Be a blue whale with a heart the size of a room.

Be that wet and that alone wherever you go.

Look out through watery, sad-seeming eyes 

to watch even the smallest forms of life float by.  

Be more at home the deeper and farther out you swim.

Let few see you. Let them wonder.

Prize barnacles, though they are rough, and some say, ugly.

Take note of what is right and true about the world there.

Let krill be all that you eat, and let it be plenty.

Persist, though much about it is difficult, 

just as an iceberg rises anyway where in ten years 

there will be no more icebergs.

Holly Wren Spaulding’s poems, articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness, The Ecologist, and in the book We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-Capitalism (Verso). Alice Greene & Co. published Pilgrim, in 2014. If August, will be published in 2017.