Dolphin Flag

Posted in Court Circular, Guest Authors, Poetry , on August 17, 2010

DOLPHIN FLAG

 

 
 
 
 

Principality of Wy - Dolphin flag

We of Wy are currently working on designs for our flag/s  We are rather fond of dolphins in the principality, so here we present one of our flags having a dolphin as its dominant feature. We like rabbits too and may use that symbol on another flag.  Princesses like that idea! It is a subject that requires a lot of thought. With every work of art the test is time. We hope you like this happy flag.

Equerry

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A POEM BY GEOFFREY LEHMANN

Paul is a great admirer of the work of the Australian poet Geoffrey Lehmann. Through the agency of this poem Geoffrey expresses the hope that Dolphins will contact us one day and bring peace to the world. He has kindly given permission to publish his poem “The Dolphins” here;

The Dolphins

A meditation of Marcus Furius Cami!us, Governor of Africa

My personal slave in Africa first told me

Of how they play with men and rub against one

(Though barnacles upon their backs may cause

Abrasions, even death)

And how they dive for bubbles and bright objects,

And mimic us with duck-like noises.

This slave once on a journey called to me.

I had my litter lowered, stepped out and followed him.

He ran down goat-tracks to a rocky cove

And whistled and a dolphin danced towards us

Across the flat grey sea. The slave

Threw off his tunic and his rope-soled sandals,

Swam to the dolphin with outlandish shouts,

Hugged it and bit it with a laugh.

Almost intelligible it clicked and whistled.

Months later, at the noon siesta,

He came to me distraught and led me wordless

Past bodies snoring in cool hallways

And over sand dunes to a beach.

A dolphin lay there, puffed with death, eyes squinting.

Making a sign to ward off evil spirits

He split the skull in with a flint. The brain

Lay large and lustrous, bigger than a man’s,

A silvery pulp, marbled with tiny veins.

He pointed to it briefly, muttered hoarsely,

Then threw sand on the body.

That night he seized my arm and talked

Of dolphins and their songs and odysseys,

And how their minds excelled our own

And they would contact us one day and bring

Peace to the world.

The palm-leaves clashed,

As breezes fanned the peristyle.

Rubbing ash on his face he moaned

For the dead dolphin he had loved,

And spoke about the language they had shared,

The high-pitched music that its blow-hole uttered,

Inaudible to him, but causing dogs

To freeze and listen, muscles trembling.

He talked of dolphins until dawn,

Their laws and second sight,

And history dating back before our gods.

Reclining on a couch my head drooped.

Soon afterwards he vanished. Fisherman

Told stories of him swimming out to sea

One dusk, a strange light in his salt-wet hair.

II

My home at dusk. Now to forget the triumph

I led through Rome today past roaring crowds.

A slave girl singing to me of Arion,

The lutanist, who sailing home

With trophies from a contest

Was almost murdered by the envious sailors,

But singing on the deck

So the sea came alive with listening dolphins

He jumped upon a music lover’s back

And fled to safety through the foam.

A shower of spray becomes a trumpet blast,

Chained negroes looking puzzled, silver eagles,

Processions carrying pictures of my conquests,

Of plains and date-palms, hills and rivers

(In fact the plains are dry, the rivers brackish).

Men call me happy, but the Emperor’s praise

Was tempered to chill rivals to his greatness.

Should I row out to sea with picnic basket

And throw fish to the dolphins,

And make weird noises trying to converse?

And if I found them stupid, what despair

To know that no minds could excel our own.

And if their minds excelled ours . . . then what envy!

Safer for me to quietly age in Rome

Amongst familiar unrealities.

III

A lute hurled on a deck and still vibrating,

Sunlight and anger in those sailors’ eyes,

And their gesticulating, empty hands.

And is it they that have undone us,

Our hands that covet, make and take,

And if we had no hands . . .

Those gentle flippers,

Those heaving seas and that inaudible music!

IV

Walking one evening by the sea I heard

Laughter and splashing and strange voices,

And in an inlet came upon nine dolphins

Leaping and frisking in the stillness,

With moonlight gleaming dully on their bodies.

I listened to their comic mimicry

Of human voices, high-pitched and distorted,

And thought I picked out

Snatches of speech from various languages.

They mimicked tones and quirks of speech.

The voices threatened, laughed, were sad or boastful.

Lying face down upon a ledge

I yearned to stand and say, “I am a man.

And you are dolphins, let us love each other.”

I stayed concealed. With dwindling voices

They headed out to sea still gossiping.

GEOFFREY LEHMANN