Elephant Seals Cambria, CA

By Karen Cotter

Braying and bawling
Smooth pastels of grey
Giant Croissants
of Seals on the Sand

Nudging and nipping,
Lunging and shoving,
suddenly fall close
together in sleep

Flies buzzing on faces,
flippers are scratching.
seawater glinting on fur,
blubber and bone.

Pudgy weanlings lie sated,
yellow and gray, snuggling
and stretching,
playing tag in the sun

the tide turns at midnight
off shore shapes looming
thousands of pounds
of danger arriving

Here we come! Here we come!
Dark bodies rising from
Bubbles and foam. roaring
defiance, the bulls have arrived

Each claiming his nook, defying
all others, slashing and bloodied
urging mates to his side.
constantly vigilant, ever on guard

Harried and hurried the females
are gathered. Over the beach,
pups scattered wide, helpless
and hungry, small voices calling.

Unlucky pups left bawling behind
others less agile lie crushed, and forlorn,
food for the seagulls,
washed away in the tide.

Winter skies add their rain
storm waves are crashing
roaring and slashing
no time for sleep

the bulls spend the hours in battle and breeding
heedless of wounds and no
time for eating.

Females alert, bulls'
attacks unrelenting,
a new crop of seals is
now in the making!

Winter is ending, the
waves are receding
into the sea, the bulls
are retreating.

Pregnant and weary, the cows
welcome the ocean, close to their
sides, "weaners" in tow.
Home to the north, fish for them all

Surging deep in the water,
bulls head for the west
females and young ones
call Alaska their home

Back on the beach, a scene of
completion. Young seals are
peaceful, lying still in the sun ..
Shore birds are busy, picking small bones

The cycle is finished,
peace comes to the strand
grasses turn brown and
winds stir the sands

A Prome is Karen's way of writing between a poem and prose.

Look at her personal vignette of Pacific Grove some years ago: Click


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