Orca

 

Sea-lions loafed in the swinging tide in the inlet, long fluent creatures
Bigger than horses, and at home in their element
As if the Pacific Ocean had been made for them. Farther off shore the island-rocks
Bristled with quiet birds, gulls, cormorants, pelicans, hundreds and thousands
Standing thick as grass on a cut of turf. Beyond these, blue, gray, green, wind-straked, the ocean
Looked vacant; but then I saw a little black sail
That left a foam-line; while I watched there were two of them, two black triangles, tacking and veering, converging
Toward the rocks and the shore. I knew well enough
What they were: the dorsal fins of two killer-whales: but how the sea-lions
Low-floating within the rock-throat knew it, I know not. Whether they heard or they smelled them, suddenly
They were in panic; and some swam for the islands, others
Blindly along the granite banks of the inlet; one of them, more pitiful, scrabbled the cliff
In hope to climb it: at that moment black death drove in,
Silently like a shadow into the sea-gorge. It had the shape, the size, and it seemed the speed
Of one of those flying vipers with which the Germans lashed London. The water boiled for a moment
And nothing seen; and at the same moment
The birds went up from the islands, the soaring gulls, laborious pelicans, arrowy cormorants, a screaming
And wheeling sky. Meanwhile, below me, brown blood and foam
Striped the water of the inlet.