Tip-Top Tuesday! Inaugural Post: Whales.

There are so many inspiring things out there in the great wide internet-world.  I know I spend a good chunk of my time browsing other people’s inspiration, so I thought I’d give back, throw in some inspiration of my own.  And so in the interest of inspiration and also a regular blogging schedule, I give you:

“TIP-TOP TUESDAY,” featuring a post facilitating the forming of new ideas.  Many of the posts will feature vintage books with fantastic illustrations.

and whats more, Fridays will bring you:

“FRESH FRIDAYS,” featuring brand-spanking new work by yours truly.  Or at least work you haven’t seen yet.  Fairly Fresh Friday didn’t sound as impressive.

And so today I present:

This gorgeous book is full of incredible whale paintings by wild life illustrator Richard Amundsen.  Amundsen was born in 1928 and did a lot of work for Field and Stream Magazine. These paintings are not only accurate, but beautiful. I love the faded blues and the way he depicts light through water.

But mostly, I love whales.  I went through a year of college wanting to paint and screen print nothing but whales.  I made drawings of whales, made books about whales, read poems about whales and evenutally painted an undersea mural in the local children’s library that prominently featured a whale.  I’ll post some pictures when I find them.

The book’s end pages are this fantastic grouping of whales.  I didn’t scribble on it with crayon, don’t worry.  This book was discarded from Howard Linkous Elementary School in Blacksburg, VA.  I got it at a thrift store in Blacksburg.

Two of my life’s goals:  to see whales and the Northern Lights in person.

Speaking of the right whale and whale poems, I have to share what  is one of the most amazing poems I’ve ever read.  “Whales Weep Not” by D.H. Lawrence.  I’ve read this poem aloud millions of times, even once at a literary reading.  I think the imagery is just stunning.   Sit there at your computer and whisper this poem to yourself:

They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.

All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge
on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.
The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers
there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of
   the sea!

And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages
on the depths of the seven seas,
and through the salt they reel with drunk delight
and in the tropics tremble they with love
and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.
Then the great bull lies up against his bride
in the blue deep bed of the sea,
as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life:
and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood
the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and
   comes to rest
in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale's
   fathomless body.

And over the bridge of the whale's strong phallus, linking the
   wonder of whales
the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and
keep passing, archangels of bliss
from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim
that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the
great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.

And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale-
   tender young
and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of
   the beginning and the end.

And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring
when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood
and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat
encircling their huddled monsters of love.
And all this happens in the sea, in the salt
where God is also love, but without words:
and Aphrodite is the wife of whales
most happy, happy she!

and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin
she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea
she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males
and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.

…dark rainbow bliss in the sea….sigh



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3 responses to “Tip-Top Tuesday! Inaugural Post: Whales.

  1. i winced a little when i saw that you posted this poem. because i knew what was coming. and i knew that i would read it again anyway.

  2. LizWood

    I read that book when I was little! I was obsessed with whales in elementary school…well actually, just for two years in second and third grade. Every time we had a school project I would do it on whales. I loooved them. Wow, I haven’t thought about that time in my life till I read your post. Thanks for the throwback.

    • steverader

      I too read this book back in elementary school in the 80’s. I drew the killer whale picture in the book for a class contest and won. I must have checked this book out of the library 100 times.

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