Point Lobos

POINT LOBOS

Do you remember how we watched
as the rogue wave swept the rock
the great rush of retreating water
chaos in its wake and yet -

Barnacles held fast - crabs scuttled
star fish emerged in the tidal pool
great coils of giant kelp
writhed like Medusa’s locks

Sodden we held each other close
charged by the seething savagery
of spewing brine and roiling tide
ecstatic at the beauty of it all

The noontide warmth of Gibson’s Beach
the shaded path of Cypress Point
abandoning sense we defied the cold
and took the plunge at China cove.

A raft of otters topsides up
cracking their crustaceous lunch
warm blooded mammals bound to the sea
ignored our intrusion of their domain

But now in later years our thoughts
obliquely drift and conjure visions
as we ponder in cold judgment
a remote and alienated past.

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Ancient tribes once shared the bounty
balanced the scales of their existence
middens of acorns and abalone
still mark their passage southward

Anchored in the perennial mist
Spanish galleons lurked uneasy
heard the sea lions they called lobos
barking off the rocky shore

Unwary of the intruders’ thirst
for souls and gold and the pelts of their young
the great sea mammals were yet to mourn
the loss of their age-old sovereignty

Gray whales voyage six thousand miles
from arctic seas to a southern cove
toothless and harmless to other creatures
easy victims to the cruel harpoon.

Whalers braved the frigid sea
to light the lamps of unknown folk
and fuel the stoves that warm their feet
on wintry nights a continent away.

In Whaler’s Cove the shack still stands
the cobalt sea and pristine sand
no longer red from victims’ blood
yet relics of death hold fast and clear.

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Cauldrons for the boiling blubber
now rusted by the salt sea air
weapons hang tacit on the wall
great bones attest the brutal slaughter

This grisly past revealed to us
quiescently awaits in shame
‘til some atonement finds a voice
the camera’s eye or painter’s brush

The caution that has come with age
will keep us from the perilous rock
our passion finds a gentler scene
to warm our hearts before we leave

Eight harbor seals have come ashore
their grace abandoned in the sea
they struggle and writhe like wingless birds
to birth their young in the warmth of sand

They have been promised sanctuary
no nets or spears will harm them here
they are protected by man’s law
yet timeless fears afflict them still.

Copyright © 2012 Radha Rajagopal Sloss
All rights reserved

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