The poem Shark Angels by Cpt. Paul Watson is a beautiful and moving testimony to sharks and also to three special women dedicated to the conservation of all the worlds shark species. Because of the length of the poem, I have had to leave out some verses. The full poem can however be read by clicking on the read more link.
No matter how vulnerable we may feel in the face of our primeval fear of sharks and no matter how saddened we may be by the injury or death of a human on the rare occassion of a shark attack, we need to acknowledge the essential role that sharks have in the ecology of the ocean and even be brave enough to accept that sharks also have a right to life.
There is a continuum in the Ocean,
Energy in continuous motion,
There is a consistency in the sea,
Holding in trust the sacred key.
Older than mountains are the sharks
Upon this planet they have left their marks,
Patiently they have shaped evolution,
Surviving every mutated revolution.
We fear what we do not understand,
Especially those that dwell not on land,
Mysterious creature with a crushing jaw,
That makes us tremble in fear and awe.
Five hundred species of wondrous diversity
Surviving in conditions of great adversity,
So many niches they have filled,
Yet so many of them has mankind killed.
What we fear we kill in ignorance,
Justifying it with profound arrogance,
We know so little of the briny deep,
Yet from the depths we savagely reap.
Swimming with hammerheads is sublime,
With them our movements could certainly rhyme,
Swimming with tigers over warm Bahamian sand,
Takes us to paradise and away from land.
Face your fears with desire,
Danger is the soul’s sweet searing fire,
Discover that your fears mean little,
For nature decides the answer to your deepest riddle.
Courage is its own reward
Nothing to fear from tooth or sword,
Recognizing that in the sea the shark is a lord,
Who we approach with respect, we must afford.
Humbling ourselves to look into their eyes,
We, who dwell between sea and skies.
The azure blue of the white shark’s gaze,
Sends trembles that stir our nerves to craze.
Oh sweet fear bring us knowledge,
Comprehension not found in college,
Opening up wisdom’s great alluring gate.
Showing the way to a fuller more enticing fate.
Sharks of Bronze, Grey, White, and Blue,
Some are many, others few,
Nurses and Needles, Basking with flair,
Some are nervous, others haven’t a care.
Makos and Threshers menace the fishes,
Megamouths and Whale sharks have tinier wishes
Files and Lanterns and so many more,
Sharks from the surface to the ocean floor.
Continually moving except for the sleepers,
Caretakers and pelagic reapers,
A myriad of shapes, in colour and size
If you wish to survive then you must be sharkwise
Swimming like poetry in the Gulfstream,
Three women glide by, like in a dream,
Angels from the land seeking to understand,
Defending the sharks, taking a stand.
Bowls of fins reeking with death and decay,
Symbols of wealth some would say,
Others know that such vanities portend doom,
When our greed empties the ocean’s womb.
Seventy million sharks die for our foul greed,
Stealing from the seas the golden seed,
What we do to them we do to all,
Removing the sharks will cause us to fall.
Three angels sing their song of praise,
Portraying the sharks in ways to amaze,
In serving the sharks they benefit us all,
If only enough can hear their wise call.
Shepherds and shark savers cutting the lines,
Stopping the poachers, looking for signs,
Education, legislation, media tactics and passion,
Working to put the sharks into favourable fashion.
From Jaws to Sharkwater, attitudes change,
It is the dominant paradigm that we must rearrange,
The Angels swim to create a new myth and tale,
Building concern for the shark, like there is for the whale.
For in the Ocean there is a sacred mysterious motion,
That evokes a complexity of human emotion,
The Angels seek to construct a new scheme,
To realize for shark and humans a more positive dream.
Can it be done? No one can say,
But it must be done by the end of the day.
For if not there is no future for the shark or man,
They will disappear on the sea and we on land.
Captain Paul Watson