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Poem

Claudia Emerson

Environmental Awareness: The Right Whale

Environmental Awareness: The Right Whale

Environmental Awareness: The Right Whale

The whale was known as right because it was
magnificent with oil, slow and easy
 
to find and slaughter, floating even when dead.
But after it was no longer needed for fat,
 
men still hunted the whale for its rich mouth
of baleen, harvested for hairbrushes,
 
buggy whips, umbrella ribs, the stays
of corsets – vain things designed to mold the female
 
body, sculpt a waist so small a man's
hands could meet with ease around it. Crazy,
 
the girls agree, the way those women bought it.
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Environmental Awareness: The Right Whale

The whale was known as right because it was
magnificent with oil, slow and easy
 
to find and slaughter, floating even when dead.
But after it was no longer needed for fat,
 
men still hunted the whale for its rich mouth
of baleen, harvested for hairbrushes,
 
buggy whips, umbrella ribs, the stays
of corsets – vain things designed to mold the female
 
body, sculpt a waist so small a man's
hands could meet with ease around it. Crazy,
 
the girls agree, the way those women bought it.

Environmental Awareness: The Right Whale

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère