Blessing the Migrations

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By Rick Benjamin

May the gray whale & her calves
find their way north of Mexican
breeding grounds all the way

to the Bering Sea, in Alaska,
where their ritual feeding
belongs to summer.  May their

songs reach other pods more
than a thousand miles away
with news about how safe

are passages, how their stays
in colder water seem fruitful
this year or not, even if what

they haven’t got is silence,  
made to listen through static
humans have created most

days, crossed wires, if what
they haven’t got is navigation
undisturbed by a desire to end

their lives. &, speaking of lives
of humans, may mothers, fathers,
& babies unbonded, grounded

at borders protected by fear
of others find their way
back together, endure these

long separations in colder,
northern waters so far from
home.  May they thrive, may

they roam soon like any other
creature across a fettered but
freer earth among others who

wish them well, who do not
believe in borders, who are
determined to listen through

static as they ensure a safer
passage to places worth this
brave walking, where, from

coastlines, you can still see
gray whales making their own
unlikely migrations north, also

against the odds, finding their
way, discovering kindred pods
singing the same songs. May

we discover, on land or from
sea to shining sea, that we be-
long together, in life after life

never parted.


Rick Benjamin is the former state poet laureate of Rhode Island (2012 – 2016) and now teaches and works at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he routinely uses The Work That Reconnects in his learning with students and others around community engagement.  He is working on his fourth book of poetry, which has the audible sound of owls in the coastal pines, the smell of sage-brush, and images of hummingbirds darting down after some sweetness in it.  He is also writing another book about the work that poetry helps us to do in our lives.


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