Why?
by Joanna Grossman
all-creatures.org
Animal Rights Poetry

Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

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Why?
(told from the marlin’s perspective in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea)
by Joanna Grossman

I pull, I pull, this is all I can do,
So as not to end up in a market or zoo.
Why am I hunted and killed for no cause?
I tire more and there is no pause.

Am I not a creature like one or another?
I too have a family, a son and a mother.
But humans fail to see their own sin.
They see me as something they simply must win.

Who is this man who wishes my death,
To stab my heart and take my last breath?
No man is worthy to take me away,
Which is why I struggle, night and day.

I grow tired of pulling this ogre and boat,
Perhaps death is best, to lie down and float.
But no I can’t! I can’t let him win.
I won’t be destroyed from tail to fin.

But what will I do when I tire and fail?
What will I do when I no longer sail?
My heart beats faster for the end is now near.
I must circle the boat, and this I do fear.

For this is the time he will rip me apart.
He will plunge his knife deep in my heart.
Many a great fish have gone stately this way,
There is no shame in dying this day.

I will miss my world that I loved so much,
The happy days in the water and such.
He pulls me closer as the minutes go by,
And I take one last glimpse at the earth and sky.

I am more than a fish, I am a creature with soul.
This matters not to this man, for my death is his goal.
Hark! I see a shape, a harpoon comes near.
The end is now, and I have nothing to fear.

I lived my life well, to die is not wrong,
But who is this man who could be so strong?
For one fleeting moment we stare eye to eye,
And for one fleeting moment, I ask myself why?

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