Menopause with Knobs On

my black
dorsal broke
through undulations,
glistening with the ocean.

Descendants and life bask behind me,
a one hundred year old granny,
five tons – plenty of blubber.

I gave birth to my last calf
in my thirties, now
there are only

and I
count barnacles,
an awkward Orca
surfing night sweats,
beached by flushes,
floundering in shallows.


Kim M. Russell, 2017

Image result for granny the orca whale

Image found on

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

I started writing this poem after listening to a fascinating programme about the oldest killer whale on BBC Radio 4 while I was ironing some time before Christmas. I finished the first draft yesterday and decided to share it to see what you think.


22 thoughts on “Menopause with Knobs On

  1. The “plenty of blubber” left me thinking. I wonder how said blubber is viewed by her and by those who see her. Does she see herself as having plenty to give–blubber has so many users–or as something that will be used up by anyone who needs a piece? Do those looking for the outside admire the way she got her blubber, how many battles she had to fight in order to get to where she is? Or are they just waiting for her to close her eyes in order to bite and swallow?

    I never knew blubber would bring so many thoughts… thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just loved Granny Orca, who they now believe died recently, with her mega menopause and her tons of blubber. Did you know she looked after her offsprings’ children once she hit the menopause? A real granny. I just hope I get to be one soon. Unfortunately there are still cultures that hunt Orcas for their blubber. Makes me so cross.


  2. I hate to think of an orca, who has an awesome legacy of descendants swimming by her side, considering the weirdness of barnacles so much that she finds herself floundering. You made me feel for her, wishing her to enjoy a chance to swim in the deep again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing life to capture in a poem (love the photo too) – love that we are reading from a mother’s perspective that, while seemingly unlike our own, strikes familiar chords. I do hope she is able to rise (or indeed, as Rommy says above – swim in the deep) again, though you’ve left us with us vision of her aging & a perhaps gloomy reality of later life for an orca. Thanks for sharing.


  4. If only we really could communicate with these amazing creatures – Your poem has a wise old way about it – kind of like the Native American stories passed down through generations…


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