The Lonely Whale

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He knew

that astronomers were wrong -

there was no universal truth

just flat earth

stretching end to end

the ALL

and the NOTHING

and the ocean in between,

reflected on its surface

one incidental star,

the weary push and pull

of lunar flow,

and so,

he sowed his knowledge

to the seven silver seas,

thrashed against perimeter

looking for the fall,

while the world

just kept on turning

heedless to his call.




◄ 52 Hertz

52 Hertz - WOL Comp ►


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Dave D Poet Rhumour

Sun 2nd Jun 2013 18:57

Very interesting piece Isobel - showing just how limited our thinking can be when limited information is available. You've had some great comments too and I concur this is indeed a great poem. best wishes, Dave

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Wed 22nd May 2013 16:40

Thanks Julian - that's praise indeed!

I find commas a mine field. The structure of the poem is an issue for me. Often words that should hang together are carved up to make it look like a poem. The commas are my way of differentiating what should be separate, where the pauses should go - though I probably only started to do that properly half way through this cos I don't like an overly punctuated poem.

I think when you are a performance poet, you hear the voice in your head reading it - the pauses matter - though they may not necessarily follow a pattern someone else would see. Perhaps it would be simpler just to take them all out!

Thanks for your very generous comment - I shall make some enquiries with Gregory :)

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Julian (Admin)

Wed 22nd May 2013 08:57

Isobel, this is a wonderful poem. Indeed, as Cynthia says (and she should know), a masterpiece. Tidal flowing rhythm, subtle use of assonance, alliteration too.
Now, get it sent off to a suitable magazine pronto, though you might want to reflect on your inconsistency in use of commas.
And it is a cracker. Wasn't there a nature poem competition recently announced in Greg's news columns?

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 22nd May 2013 02:50

Isobel, a masterpiece.

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Tue 21st May 2013 20:36

Glad you liked it ladies!

Alex - your ghostly presence is most welcome - just don't turn into a poltergeist and start throwing things at me ;)


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Tue 21st May 2013 17:32

Have to agree with Yvonne... fascinating subject!

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Tue 21st May 2013 08:44

It's funny how you don't realise the interpretations your poem can have until you let it go and when you re-read it you can understand how people draw those conclusions - that's the problem with contemporary stuff (or maybe the attraction for me) - it does allow your imagination to just wander freely.

For me, him seeing the world flat rather than round wasn't a criticism - just an observation - I wanted to show that we all have our own realities to deal with - are islands to differing degrees. The flatness also ties in with the depression arising from aloneness. I can see how it might seem a criticism though.

The ALL and the NOTHING are quite central to understanding the poem. Some of us get by on half measures, others want the full 9 yards. Some would like the ALL but it often comes with too high a price.

That's about it really - not quite as deep as the ocean :)

Thanks for coming back at me Harry - I love the opportunity of explaining myself.


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Harry O'Neill

Mon 20th May 2013 23:25


I think I meant that the Lonely makes you feel sympathetic, But him still believing the earth was flat takes it away.

As for the rest, I`d just been reading Patricia`s poem about infinity and some of the words in yours sent my mind wandering - particularly `thrashing against the perimeter` (waffling again)

I get the feeling that this - rules permitting - could be an outside competition chancer.

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Mon 20th May 2013 21:05

Thank you everyone - I'm glad you enjoyed.

I'm not sure what you mean by the poem satirising the title Harry - the poem does question the idea of loneliness though.

The 'fall' in my minds eye, wasn't any leap into faith - just an escape from isolation - a desire to drop off the edge.

Having said that, I'm happy for anyone to interpret it as they wish - that's the beauty of poetry.

Haunting is what I was trying to achieve Ian - so thanks for that :)

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Rachel Bond

Mon 20th May 2013 18:33

really liked this isobel..inspired my write. hope you like.

i love the all and the nothing and the ocean inbetween :) good writing x

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Lynn Dye

Mon 20th May 2013 14:48

This is a great poem, Isobel, love it. I think Ian is right, a shame you can't enter your own competition ;-) Lx

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Mon 20th May 2013 10:00

Yep I like this too, sad and emotive

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John Coopey

Sun 19th May 2013 23:54

Thoroughly enjoyed, Isobel.
I especially like the alliteration of "sowed his knowledge to the seven silver seas"

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Harry O'Neill

Sun 19th May 2013 16:17

Isobel Good `un!

I like the way the combination of the bulk of the whale plus the weight of the water and the resistance of the `push and pull` of the moon induced tides makes the whole thing so
strivingly heavy.

Also the way the body of the poem saps the sympathy out of the title`s` lonely` and satirises it.

Plus the neat little rhymed finisher.

Come to think of it, that `flat earth` `universal truth` and (slightly) religious connotation of`looking for the fall`, added to the upper-cased`NOTHING` could open the whole thing up to a robustly atheistic interpretation...(I`m wafflin`)

I`ve always thought that those great big hulkin` brutes were well big enough to save themselves.

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Ian Whiteley

Sun 19th May 2013 15:00

WOW! great poem Isobel - it's a shame you can't enter your own competition because this would have been very difficult to beat. Beautiful, haunting - lovely stuff

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Yvonne Brunton

Sat 18th May 2013 23:40

I really like this Isobel, especially after all the information about 52 Hertz. xx

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