By Miguel Paolo Celestial
The coat of seal pups is sleek with salt sheen
their hair shines newly oiled
as they play on the shore flipping their tails.
The arch of the sun bends on their young backs.
Their trust tethers them to safety.
The day is clear, the hour guileless and without wit.
The water rolls with the clouds.
Like an idea, purpose crests with a wave
a black blister moving like hot kelp.
The pups frolic on the stretch.
The tide laps their flanks. The foam
The mother cows are heavy with attention.
The whales rise like bubbles.
The sea opens with fin knives.
A pup is carried away like a cub:
teeth on the loose flesh of the nape.
Death is far away.
The whale flings the pup into the air
and catches it,
belly and tail splashing.
Its cries fly flockless.
A pup that has disappeared
is brought back.
It resurfaces as if borne by the sea
and now discovers land.
Its mother still waits on the quiet sand.
The sea closes. Clouds rush with the tide.
The day is unconcealed.
Shadows turn and are gone.
Published in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 2001
Translated into Filipino as 'Orka', set to rhyme and meter