Dolphins, Poetry, and Madeline L’Engle

Picture from Asbury Park Press

some text

The big news in my area is that a pod of coastal dolphins has been spending their time in a local river and estuary. At first, officials were worried that they were offshore dolphins, which would present a problem because they don’t have a food source in the area. However, today it was confirmed that they are coastal dolphins and have been feasting on the abundance of bunker in the river! Now, officials are keeping an eye on them and hoping they make their way back to the ocean before the July 4th holiday, when the river will be crowded with boats.

They have been attracting quite a crowd and last night I headed down to try and see them. I did not spot them, but today my mother and sister were lucky enough to spend some time down by the river. They counted 8 dolphins, including a few young ones, and even saw them leaping from the water! I am extremely jealous, needless to say.

Dolphins have always been my favorite animals. Their intelligence, love, and compassion can be seen when they interact with each other in the wild. Because of my affinity for dolphins, Madeline L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light has always been a particular favorite of mine. To borrow from Amazon’s summary, “Vicky Austin is filled with strong feelings as she stands near Commander Rodney’s grave while her grandfather, who himself is dying of cancer, recites the funeral service. Watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes on beautiful Seven Bay Island is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate things, she finds herself the center of attention for three very different boys: Leo is an old friend wanting comfort and longing for romance; Zachary, whose attempted suicide inadvertently caused the Commander’s death, is attractive and sophisticated but desperately troubled; and Adam, her older brother’s friend, offers her a wonderful chance to assist in his experiments with dolphins but treats her as a young girl just when she’s ready to feel most grown-up. Called upon to be dependable, stable, and wise, Vicky is exhilarated but often overwhelmed. Forces of darkness and light, tragedy and joy, hover about her, and at times she doesn’t know which will prevail.” A Newbery Honor book in 1980, this is my favorite L’Engle novel.

While looking out into the river, I was reminded of the Henry Vaughan’s famous poem, “The World”, which plays a vital part in the story. A perfect addition to Poetry Friday, I decided to present the first stanza using Wordle.

Read the rest of the poem here.

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6 Responses

  1. Oh, wow, those are beautiful dolphins! You’re so lucky to live in a place with dolphins.

    I, too, love A Ring of Endless Light.

  2. Actually, there aren’t normally dolphins here! They live off the coast, so if you are out on a boat you might see them, but I never have. I still haven’t!

  3. Oh, I’m always so afraid when dolphins and whales make their way inland!

    How do you feel about the dolphins in the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series? I do love them in that!

  4. I was worried about them, but now that NOAA has confirmed that they are coastal dolphins I feel better. it seems it is fairly common for them to make their way into southern rivers, and the food in the Shrewsbury River is just too good to pass up right now!

  5. Have your read The Dolphins of Pern and The Dolphins’ Bell by Anne McCaffrey? They are both good if you like fantasy/sci-fi. What a great idea, sharing the poem by Wordle. I think I could get obsessed with using that for all sorts of text. Fun!

  6. Oh, I am obsessed with Wordle! It is way too much fun!

    I haven’t read those yet, but I will add them to my list. Thanks!

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