Beneath the Surface in Galapagos

galapagos, water, ocean, leon dormido, kicker rock

Beneath the surface

Sharks sway through coral gardens,

Slicing through schools of razor surgeon fish,

Silver knives into billowing curtains of black and yellow.

Parrot fish of myriad pastels scrape bulbous coral heads with their beaks,

In concert with shrimp and reef fish feeding en masse.

The seas fill with a soft static,

A radio station long out of range.

Orange cup coral, giant sea fans and tiger anemones color the ground in fanciful hues,

Impressionistic but precise,

While wrasses so sleek and shiny

Rule their rocky domains.

In the blue expanse, green sea turtles glide like airplanes,

Flying to worlds unknown.


Beneath the surface

I move free for a few fleeting seconds,

Feeling the invigorating chill of the sea on my skin.

I am in love with everything around me —

The puffer fish, the anemones, the sharks,

Especially the sharks.

They move so casually though this world as alien as outer space,

Contained by a barrier thinner than paper,

Broken through without effort, yet

In that immeasurable gap,

Strong enough to determine life or death.


Like a child I am stubborn.

I want to stay underwater,

To make sense of it,

To heed what excites me.

I came to the Galapagos to explore.

Every rock must be overturned,

Even those at the bottom of the ocean.

Yet with each attempt at depth I am thrust upwards

Seemingly by my own doing,

And I claw at the surface,

Gasping for breath

Reminded of life’s fragility.


Still, I dive.

I yearn to go deeper, to see more, to find surprise,

Believing that one time I will break though completely

And become like the shark,

Exploring where mysterious and beautiful creatures thrive

And live forever in the deep.

(Written following an expedition in the Galapagos with Lindblad Expeditions. Photo: Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Galapagos)

2 Comments on “Beneath the Surface in Galapagos

  1. So inspiring are the words that describe your inner-space experiences. Your poetry paints such vivid imagery of the prolific life under the seas and leaves me wanting for more. Such a wonderful piece my friend! Thank you.

  2. Vivid and beautiful – you’ve given me a new appreciation for sharks and their world.

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