CAPTIVE WATER                                                                           

Bottlenose Dolphin - For Brother Bob                                                                       

©1999 Gordon Bok


Women’s chorus: Beth Alma, Mary Bok, Fiona Hall, Meikle Hall, Mary Ann Hensel, Ellie Libby, Lois Lyman, Selkie O’Mira, Susan Shaw, Holly Torsey and Lynn Travis


I've had a 20-year conversation with Bob Zentz about taking other species out of their habitats – "stealing them to the sky." Perhaps our persistent preoccupation of alien abduction is a reflection of our own history.

Think about the dolphins in the Mediterranean lying like logs on the surface. Think about the mass strandings on so many coasts. Think about the degradation of their soundscape   from ships and US Government sonar bombings. Think about the degradation of their habitat with oil and acid water and over-fishing. These are not stupid beings; we are not listening.



Blue and green the waters warm

And so they take my child away

and light and light and shining down

and leave us silent in the sea

So close beneath the sun and free

and leave their strength and cruelty

we roll the soft and lifting sea

to stain the clear ways of the sea

And where the flicking fishes slide


we, leaping, singing, diving ride

Now on the Northern reaches far

the shifting warmth of light above

behind the shoaling waters where

the rippled world in play and love

the lonely grey ones come to weep

And now come whining, white and brown

for gifts of life they cannot keep

the noisy churning boats of man

another voice comes back to me

and man come rolling thrashing down

her voice is keening through the sea              

with chase and pass of flailing hand

And oh my child is singing there

and roll and tow and swing and send

in captive water and in air

that all the world is play and friend

Alive, she says; I am alive

And now the net strike from above

Oh warm and fed and still alive

to catch my child and yank and heave

And through the little channel seep

her leaping life and living love

that runs to sea her soul to keep

and hold her though she twist and dive

her voice is coming out to me

and drag her screaming to the sky

I am alive, I am alive

and all she knows is asking why

but mother I am lonely

And I beside her only know

I am alive, alive, alive

her fright and pain and now I see

but mother I am never free

her lifted from the loving sea

Mother, mother all you saw

and feel the dreadful weight of air

is true, these ones will never know

come on her and it comes on me

they have no ear to hear my cry

And now the one with hissing breath

and all I ever ask is why

and mirrored face that mirrors death

And we who have no sound for fear

is here beside me in the sea

can roam the living waters clear

and when I turn to ask him why

and we can kill and fight and run

he has no tongue to answer me

but why now do we choose to die

Has he no mind behind his eye

before we kill a human one

and never tongue to answer me

And still they steal us to the sky

And so they take my child away

and all we ask of them is why

And so they take my child away

and all we ever ask is why 





Captive Water is recorded on the album Other Eyes