At Another Time

If we came back as cetaceans, I could hear our rhythm
cycle from your throat, threads of song
spun pure under water, independent of breath
made only for me,

and it would float in focused waves
to my ears.  Soft, my answer
would ripple through your question
and together, our voices could blend a new sound
before we touched, unrecorded.
But we are not as wise as hypothetical whales,
or as patient in our finding,
and who knows when
we will meet again in similar skin;

so instead of love another time,
as whales know it, what if I
learn wings and flight,
and a different kind of singing;
while you play, furred in a stream
on another continent, and if we met
our voices would not recognize
each other as words across species,
and the cycle we started
would not repeat, because,
upright and verbal, we knew
and chose, instead of moving closer,
to walk away.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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53 Responses to At Another Time

  1. You say it beautifully. It’s both a musing and a statement all wrapped up in one. I’ve lived in such thoughts before . . . just spoke them in different words. Your writing is gift to you and from you. Thank you. ~Gerean

    • Oh, thank you so much for saying that. A thought I had pop into my head while watching TV, of all things, but it insisted on being written out. So glad it spoke to you!

  2. Sad and beautiful. So nicely nicely done, Susan.

  3. Bart Wolffe says:

    Susan, this is magical!

  4. If we had but ears to listen,
    we would see we sing the same song,
    but we all wish to be soloists and so
    we have no sense of harmony.

    • JCC, love that! Quite true too (just not for this poem…smiles).

      • Well, susan, I have always been fascinated by the songs of whales, and the idea that they communicate by singing together the same song, by harmonizing. As a musician, I get that. Real communication is more like singing a song together. You learn much more about the person you are performing the song with than you do about the audience. I’d like to think that’s what great poetry (like this!) is doing as well….
        I meant “we” in the “we stupid humans” sense….but not us of course…

        • JCC–thanks again! I love the depth of this comment, and i agree–communication (effective communication) is like singing–although sometimes the song falls flat or can be quite discordant–though that has more to do with the instruments used than the song itself.

  5. unfetteredbs says:

    “Soft, my answer
    would ripple through your question”— Susan your words are gentle but the movement to so strong.

  6. unfetteredbs says:

    IS SO STRONG.. grrrr

  7. janehewey says:

    this resonates with the importance of communication. Your opening stanza is deeply lovely and the last line, to walk away, brings me back into my two-legged body. wonderful.

  8. BroadBlogs says:

    Bittersweet and thoughtfully lovely.

  9. I love the rippling water-music, the hypothetical whale, and walking away when we are upright. your words are such delights.

    • Ah, Shrinks, thank you! All came from something on TV, something about “we can love another time… ”

      Triggered this, and I had fun with it. What if there is no other time for them in similar skin? Had to do it.

  10. Rhonda says:

    You are a master! My mind is spinning. From tv you say? Must have been reality tv, for this is so real and beautifully expressed…awesome Susan

  11. my answer
    would ripple through your question
    and together, our voices could blend a new sound
    before we touched, unrecorded.


    wow!!! So much power and visual imagery you have.

    I’ve always been such a fan of your work and throughout all this time we’ve been friends…I truly have tons of respect for your work. 🙂

    I’m back! 🙂

  12. nelle says:

    We are assemblies of recycled parts. An atom here, an atom there, a plant, a dino, a rock… who knows where those atoms have been?

  13. Victor says:

    Beautiful poem Susan but it made me sad.Incurable romantics like us never like seeing it end any other way than the proverbial “—happily ever after”

    • Victor, that’s it, exactly 😉

      I am always looking for that happy ending.

      So glad you liked it, despite the saudade–my favorite Portuguese word–meaning a longing for something that could be or might have been. Sigh–beautiful word. No equivalent in English, which is odd, considering what a thief that language is.

  14. claudia says:

    love esp. that last stanza and i so wished they had found each other– just not good to procrastinate love…right…?

  15. brian miller says:

    wow…some deep thoughts in this..reincarnation and the opportunity to be together…to join in song again…what a great close as well in the realizing the choice to walk away can be just as powerful….

  16. I have never thought about reincarnation in such sad terms before, nor fleeting chances being so tiny in comparison. This is a wow piece for me.

  17. This is so beautiful, Susan. Especially, for me, the last stanza. I love whales and how you have delivered the message using nature.

  18. kelly says:

    wow, so poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful… this one will stay with me.

  19. Ha, such a smile I have. The songs of whales, of creatures, of nature is one of my favs. So very good this is.

  20. Rowan Taw says:

    I get such a sense of sweet sadness.

  21. Sabio Lantz says:

    At Perseus’s hand Ceto was ushered into the sky, leaving his song as the cosmic rumble privy only to infrared telescopes. These peer through the imagined lurid affairs spun as past lives and karma.

    Your poem got me thinking –thanks.

  22. Beth Winter says:

    Is it fair to be in awe of the beauty and sad at the loss at the same time? I can’t imagine a reincarnated existence without the love that I know in this one.

  23. Teresa says:

    This is beautiful. Wonderful and reflective piece.

  24. kkkkaty1 says:

    I really really like this for I’ve had similar thoughts and feelings (wish I had written it down)…you spoke to me.

  25. Tony Maude says:

    No “and they all lived happily ever after” then? That’s really sad. Why is it that we humans, given the gift of speech, of language and innumerable methods of communication, find it so hard to actually communicate. No … wait … could it be because we make no real effort to listen to each other?

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