homer’s ring

and it is with large fins that we hug the world
and with great joy that we are fit to praise our god1
and the chorus of calves burst into rapture
at the sound of this last line, as if Martin Luther King
were looking down on them, imbuing the scene with a
somehow weightier stroke; each phrase brushed onto
each calf as if they were meant to feel this way.

and2 it was around then that
a great hunger rose up inside me
to learn the Odyssean ways of the whales,
– each now pulsing ultraviolet
brambled with lightning –
as they melted from song to song;
an equator of violaceae
halo’d round a heart.

it would not be long before I wished fins from out my shoulders
gained the taste for krill
and prayed for a metamorphosis3 that made spout my fontanelle


1 Presumably krill, or the monarch of the krill – that much I hadn’t yet discovered.

2 it was around then that ceremonial buckets of krill were passed around the circle

3 Although living absolutely as a whale during the course of the project would considerably speed up the process of discovery, I would, perhaps, miss opposable thumbs were I a whale – so consider this image a ‘metaphormorphosis’ of sorts.

Ben Armstrong


One thought on “homer’s ring

  1. progiestben says:

    Writer’s Note:

    One of the many (subtle or not) narrative poems within ‘Perennial’, ‘Homer’s Ring’ continues my long standing love of using footnotes in poetry to add a second tone which jolts the reader out of the text. While providing a second narrative, or highlighting key points of interest, the reason I’m so fond of using footnotes in poetry is because it opens up the piece, creating a space to think things through.

    In terms of the story, ‘Homer’s Ring’ is set when the narrator is sitting down with the whales during a ritual dedicated to the consumption of krill. The largest of the whales is singing a song (Lines 1-2) and the narrator tries to interpret and rationalise the event (Lines 3-7). In the final lines, he expresses his wish to become one of them for the first time as he adapts to life on the island, though the accompanying footnote cuts through this flight of fancy with an aside of human longing.

    This is one of my more experimental pieces and one I think that paints a vivid picture. On the subject of artwork, if you would like to submit some watercolour paintings to accompany this project – then please email me at adlibion_inc@hotmail.co.uk!


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