Sunday, April 03, 2011

Not without Poetry Challenge

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of that, I'm participating in a poem a day challenge for the month. My first effort is too raw and private to share yet (let's put this way--it's an elegy for an old friend) and the second is just silly, but I rather like today's:

Consider the octopus, with its clever tentacles, huge eyes,
Brain more powerful than something
Without a spine ought to possess.
They can solve mazes, hide in clouds
Of their own generation rather than fight.
But that doesn’t mean they’re helpless.
If a diver peers too rudely, for instance,
Into an octopus’s well-decorated lair,
He might lose his mask to a creature
As inquisitive and rude as he is. If he’s unlucky,
The diver might lose his mouthpiece and drown.

At aquariums, predators and prey live segregated,
Safe in their sanitary, individual worlds—except for octopuses.
When I worked at the one in Boston, I learned
Things we kept from visitors. Our octopus had figured out
How to escape its tank, behind the scenes.
It had perhaps thirty seconds to crawl
To a neighboring tank, pry it open, and devour
Some unsuspecting creature, then back again. The aquarists rigged
Up ever more elaborate baffles, but in the end,
It took a weight too heavy for the octopus to budge
Holding down the top of the tank. Unfortunately,
It was also too heavy for some of the aquarists.

Knowing that octopus exist
Boost my faith in the divine Trickster.


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