SONG FOR THE SALMON
poem by David Whyte
For too many days now I have not written of the sea,
nor the rivers, nor the shifting currents
we find between the islands.
For too many nights now I have not imagined the salmon
threading the dark streams of reflected stars,
nor have I dreamt of his longing,
nor the lithe swing of his tail toward dawn.
I have not given myself to the depth to which he goes,
to the cargoes of crystal water, cold with salt,
nor the enormous plains of ocean swaying beneath the moon.
I have not felt the lifted arms of the ocean
opening its white hand on the seashore,
nor the salted wind, whole and healthy,
filling the chest with living air.
I have not heard those waves,
fallen out of heaven onto earth,
nor the tumult of sound and the satisfaction
of a thousand miles of ocean,
giving up its strength on the sand.
But now I have spoken of that great sea,
the ocean of longing shifts through me,
the blessed inner star of navigation
moves in the dark sky above
and I am ready like the young salmon,
to leave his river, blessed with hunger,
for a great journey on the drawing tide.
DAVID WHYTE uses poetry in corporate settings to help others deal with change, and to encourage creativity in individual employees, and in organizations. Before this he worked as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands, led natural history and anthropological expeditions in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru and travelled in India and Nepal. His poems speak to my heart. I enjoy his ability to pay exquisite attention to the natural world and then to make a bridge to the human soul, to an inner world of meaning, mystery, and wonder. I chose this poem this week because I am about to embark on a journey to the ocean - not via a river, though perhaps a road can be a little like a river. Inwardly though, I love the image of the salmon ready for bigger things. Today is also the eve of National Water week so it seems appropriate to have a watery poem.