Poets speaking up to Adani – Susan Fealy

How to Dive in Kelp Forest 

kelp (ME cülp(e), of unkn. orig)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary 


The stipes braid together, grow air-filled bulbs, float

each frond towards the surface.

Do not jump into a mess of greenish-gold. Wait for the swing of the boat

to move away. In thick kelp, the surface is not your friend;

sometimes, even the bottom is not your friend.

Make a mental map:

sketch it on your dive slate—plan your depth and time.

Canopies are so thick, it is like cave-diving

—floating through an upper understorey of golden branches. Break stipes

as if you are breaking a pencil—carry shears, but not a big Rambo knife. Don’t start


and then discover your second stage is unfindable.

Did I mention the sculpins? The senoritas and Spanish shawls? The starfish,

urchins and gorgonians?

Don’t penetrate so deep

you don’t know where out is. When surfacing, select a sand-patch

where blue sky may be seen.



Susan Fealy


‘How to Dive in Kelp Forest’ was previously published in Flute of Milk (Crawley, WA: UWAP, 2017)



Photos in collage from: CSIRO CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

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