Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap: Alaska

Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap:

Of all the places I have been to, the place I would return to in a heartbeat is Alaska. The untamed wilderness has always calledIMG_8549whale2 to me, mountains and glaciers and  waters of aquamarine.  I counted more bald eagles in one day in Juneau than I had counted  in all  the years of my life combined. But, most especially, it was where a dream of mine came true. It was in Alaska where I had my first encounter with the humpback whales. I have admired these huge denizens of the sea for years, and have supported my adopted whale, Ivory, for twenty years. Alaska is also the place where I experienced my first sunrise at sea. It was a profound experience, watching the sun rise and push back the shadow of night, the golden light spilling over the water , dancing a path of light from the sun to me.  The following are two poems, one a haiku entitled Sunrise,Sunset at Sea and one a sestina, And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine?

a path of gold from the sun to me

a path of gold from the sun to me

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea


we watch the sun rise
light vanquishes the darkness
and color returns

the calm sea reflects
ribbons of orange and pink
we stand mesmerized



as the sun rises
it paints a path of gold light
for us to follow

as the sun lowers
bands of dark purple and blue
bruise the evening sky

 rays of pale sunlight
reach out across the water
the sun bids farewell

we watch the sun set
the shades of night seep in
the sky veiled in gray

the calm sea darkens
a weary sun now at rest
color fades to black

the green waters stirred by the ship's passage

the green waters stirred by the ship’s passage

                              pc ‘2012


 (in a sestina, each sentence in the six paragraphs must end in six chosen words: Alaska, glaciers, aquamarine, paradise, mountains, whales. In each verse these words move around in a preset form. The sestina ends in a tercet and in each of those lines are two of the six chosen words)



And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine?

a pristine wilderness, wild and untamed,  a place called Alaska
a land of bears and  bald eagles;  graced with icy glaciers
and did I mention the water is aquamarine?
our ship slowly starts passage into the fjord, a slim slice of paradise
we pass the silent sentinels,  the mighty mountains,
a disturbance in the water;  we are in the company of whales

we spy a spout of steam,  a telltale sign, we watch for the whales
in summer, they come to feed on small fish off the coast of Alaska
fresh water runs in rivers from the melting snows of the mountains
slowly they move, ages old, ever-changing, grinding rock and ice, the glaciers
glow on a rare sunny day in July. We are thankful to be here in such a paradise
enchanted,  we watch the sunlight sparkle on waters of aquamarine

this is a color rarely seen – a translucent version of aquamarine
so pretty when it swirls, and suddenly,  there appear two killer whales
azure skies, the brilliant sun, running waters, crystal ice, this is my paradise
and a dream come true – long have I waited to come to Alaska
to see blue ice glowing in the fissures of the glaciers
and marvel at the snow capped peaks of lofty, rugged  mountains

beaches are fine, but take me to the mountains
especially those that surround waters of aquamarine
crack! the sound echoes, as  ice splits from the glaciers
in the gold of the setting sun, the breach of a whale
I’’ll forever remember the unrestrained beauty –Alaska
has all the facets of a true paradise

I walk in the beauty of this wilderness paradise
where wisps of fog conceal the tops of the mountains,
the leaves strung with pearls of morning dew.  Of Alaska,
I’ll always remember that incredible shade of aquamarine
and that sound in the night – the exhaling  breath of a whale
and those blue icebergs sailing by,  spawned by the glaciers

despite their age, there is a fragile beauty in the glaciers,
which is woven in the fabric of this natural paradise
I can hear it calling to me in the singing of the whales
as it  echoes through the canyons of the waiting mountains
and reflects in the waters of aquamarine
it’s a song of the wilderness,  – the song of Alaska

I came in search of whales, and the snow-capped mountains,
which rise in silhouette above the glacier ice fields, in a paradise,
a dream taken form in aquamarine – Alaska.

Itwo eagles
the Sawyer glacier

humpback whales humpback whales