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New Song, “The Whale,” Highlights Resilience of Nature in Dark Times

Artie Raslich/The New York Times

This week, my program is a musical one.   Here is a song by singer, songwriter, and environmentalist Sean Madden about the amazing and unexpected resilience of nature in the face of political turmoil and trouble.

Lyrics of Sean Madden’s song, “The Whale”:

There’s a sinister seed that’s been growing

in this country we once thought was great

A dangerous crop we are sowing

One of anger and fear and hate

And I can’t belittle their frustration

That festered ignored for so long

But what will be left of our nation/With all of the immigrants gone?


But did you hear what they saw in the Hudson?

Right there off the Manhattan shore

There’s a whale swimming round in the Hudson

That’s once for those keeping score, those keeping score,


A gracious, intelligent leader

Who just happens also to black

And we were poised for historic repeater

One step forward and two steps back

Now the white house feels a lot whiter

As the masculine masses applaud

And they swallowed his con just to spite her

Now we’re left with this crumbling façade.


But did you hear what they saw in the Hudson?

A creature of mysteries deep

There’s a whale swimming round in the Hudson

A site that could bring souls to weep, bring ‘em to weep.


And on that same little island of power

Sits a frightening, dangerous man

High up in his cheaply guilt tower

Built on pillars of lies and dark plans

And once his election was joked

Just like his impossible hair

But the fires of hate that he stoked

Now leave millions to fear and despair


But did you hear what they saw in the Hudson?

A river they once claimed was dead

There’s whale swimming round in the Hudson

Whose blood once painted seas red

So in this symbolic creature

May we find some meaning that’s true

We always have hope for the future

Hope cradled by me and by you

There’s a resiliency in nature

A struggle to live and to fight

And though we can’t make it perfect

We can still work to make things all right;

Make it all right, we can make it all right.

Tom Pelton, a national award-winning environmental journalist, has hosted "The Environment in Focus" since 2007. He also works as director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health. From 1997 until 2008, he was a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, where he was twice named one of the best environmental reporters in America by the Society of Environmental Journalists.