I listen and search for years. Four years
since the colour blue burst forth, frothing from
my lips, my chest spilling emptying whatever’s
left of me. As if there was anything to empty at all.
like a leaky faucet, a minor inconvenience easily
mended with a twist of a wrench and I wrench and I
wrestle these feelings but they burst and they
bury me two thousand feet under with nothing just
a song to sing but when song meets silence,
did I really make a sound?
No one hears. No one’s here.
Alone, there’s just me and the winter
ache in my bones
I am larger than life but I have never felt
so small in a blue so massive.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“The Loneliest Whale in the World” was the first poem I submitted during my first week doing the poetry module in my first year at Bath Spa University, and was also the first one that I was proud of because of what it means to me personally.
The title and main subject of this poem was partially inspired by the heartbreaking story I read a couple of years ago, about the loneliest whale in the world named 52 (signifying the frequency in which it sings, although I didn’t remember that it had a name until recently). The song it sings is a tone ‘just above the lowest note on a tuba’, but no other whale in the world shares or recognises. Therefore, for the past twenty years, 52 has been roaming the ocean singing its song to itself.
The reason I chose to write about this whale was because week one’s prompt was to write about an animal (or several) that represents who you are—and I immediately thought of whales, though not 52 specifically, as they are one of my favourite animals (a close second would be dogs). I remember considering other alternatives, something to do with Artemis (she’s my favourite Greek goddess) and her patron animals, but it didn’t take long before I scrapped it in favour of whales.
Before the idea for 52 came along, I was stressed out as I felt so much pressure to write a decent poem. Being horribly inexperienced, I had already formed an expectation of what a poem should be like if it was to be taken seriously. I felt the need to create one with a smooth rhythm, a clean flow and musicality to it. I absolutely felt the need to throw in a couple of clever rhymes and metaphors (I always feel the need to include a ‘mic drop’ in any of my creative pieces, anyway, because I’m all about impressing people like that). I don’t remember how 52 dawned on me exactly, but when it did I knew I had to write about it.
And remembering 52’s story made me remember a bitter, poignant moment in my life: my depression.
I won’t get too deep into it; I’ll save it for another post (although, being honest, I don’t remember much about it. It’s all fragments at this point. I’m not sure, really. It’s been five years; maybe at this point my brain’s suppressed those unpleasant memories.) Long story short, year 8 was an extremely chaotic time in my life; I was horribly insecure, had -5,000 self-esteem. One conflict led to another, and as a result, I became severely depressed. It took a long, long while to get back up.
And lo, with those thoughts in mind, ‘The Loneliest Whale in the World’ was born.
Originally, this poem is formatted differently. Each line is indented because I wanted it to represent waves, as well as the turbulences (and flatlines) that comes with depression:
The first draft of this poem had each line begin with a capitalised word and the entirety of it had little to no punctuation (as I wasn’t aware you could, in fact, include proper English punctuation in a poem). However, as I copy-pasted my poem onto this blog, I realised that I liked the way it looked as a ‘standard’ poem as well, and so I left it this way.
I definitely had an attachment with this poem. It may not be the best out there, but it meant a lot to me that I wrote it. My depression isn’t something I talk about often (or even at all) until recently (I didn’t even call it depression until the beginning of my first term in uni because I’d refused to come to terms with the fact that I even had depression before then. Save that for another post.) I have no problems telling people (when prompted) about it now, but it’s just been a concealed part of me for so long, I feel that it’s about time I bring it to light.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, then I want to thank you for reading. I hope you’ve loved this poem as much as I’ve loved writing it.
Until next time,
(Fun fact: I first wrote 3/4 of this post when I first created this blog, which was on June 3rd. I did not complete it until just now. Which shows how much of a lazy mfer I am.)
(Side image taken from here)