Creation I
by Jane Downing


Creation (I)

"There are more whales in the world than sandpipers," said the whale
"There are more sandpipers in the world than whales," said the sandpiper

So the fight began

the birds of the air on one side
the creatures of the sea on the other

More more more
whales or sandpipers
shark or gull
tuna or noddy tern

But how to number so many?
How to count so high?

To win the fight the whales began to eat the land

--surely without the land the birds would tire & die
leaving the ocean dwellers triumphant?

To win the sandpipers drank all the ocean

--surely without water the sea creatures would die
leaving the birds triumphant?

The birds drank fast
the sea creatures lay and gasped
"But what will we do without fish?" the sandpiper asked
"Without them we cannot survive."

So the birds spat back all the water
in waterfalls and streams and storms
They filled again the oceans

so the whale and the sandpiper could co-exist down eternity

But no land could be reclaimed
from the stomachs of the whales and shark and tuna and friends
And see, all around the islands have been left small

where we live--the remains of the whale and the sandpiperís argument


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Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.

© Jane Downing 2001
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