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  Swish after Swish after SwishPoem about our recent resident basking shark by Chuck Kruger

A neighbour rings, reports basking shark below our farm, and I’m off to backyard look-out point and he’s there, prowling South Harbour, ever swishing caudal fin back and forth, swish after swish after swish. Mesmerized, I watch for an hour, until it’s too dark, swish after swish after swish, and confess, Great Mother, I become enamoured of the rhythms of his life. His dorsal fin slices through the waters, leaves curling V-shaped wake; illusory seal-head eyes now and then emerge as if to check on other whereabouts; that powerhouse of caudal fin never stops sweeping the darkening reflective sea; barrel mouth opens into cavity of night. Occasionally this gentle giant erupts, turns waters white: a seeming thrashing transpires; and out the maelstrom swims his nibs, tranquil as before, swish after swish after swish. Maybe Mr Shark chances upon a swarm of zooplankton, and in that exploding boiling convulsion gobbles a monster’s mouthful, puts those gill rakers to serious filtering work. After this hour of peering at his habits through telescope, I sense kinship: Imagine feeling friendly with a shark. But that’s prejudice for you. Yet he’s so unassumingly shared his way of life I’d abhor seeing this calm persistent lord of the sea disappear on board, harpoon in flank. And how I yearn to share this sighting of the world’s second largest fish with my grandchildren – swish after swish after swish. And how I hope, Great Mother, they’ll be able to share a similar gift with theirs. **** Chuck Kruger, Cape Clear Island, County Cork, Ireland

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