Second Day – Rockpools
-Photo by Paul Brookes
Tide has risen and ebbed
leaving a seaweed deposit
salt-wracked and soggy
alive with shrimpy many-legged crawlers
guarding an empty mermaid’s purse.
Upon this mounded free food bank,
shore crabs skitter and fence.
into murky pools
where tiny land-locked sticklebacks cower
from an army of wellied children waving buckets and nets
who act out a ritual the same the world over.
Anemones wave their scarlet tentacles
like sore bumholes advertising for Anusol.
A starfish, bereft –
it needs current to turn end-over-end;
bring it morcels of food.
The catchers poke and prod
patches of weed to encourage and frighten
the denizens of this temporary littoral world
into revealing their presence.
Safe under armour
a limpet lies rock-clamped,
but a specialist arrives;
an Oyster Catches who dislodges it with bill prods,
lifts, smashes, scoops out snot-grey inner.
A dad picks up a whitish spiral shell
holds it up to the light and says
“Look Denny, there’s someone home !”
“It’s a Hermit Crab,” says junior, his delighted open face animated.
Blennies shuffle into rock cracks knowing they can wait.
A flip-flopping snorkeler
creates the wrong sort of waves.
But as he reaches a deeper part of the pool
shoving slimy kelp strands aside
something slides around his ankle
harder than you’d imagine
for a small suckered limb.
Another seven rubbery graspers
ivy around his leg like a russian vine.
They’re not hurting him, just investigating.
His watery ears barely hear the screaming;
somebody is slapping it with a spade
but they hit his leg instead.
He turns and lets out a wail,
sees foot long alien monster pour away.
Black ink floods the pool
as it dives to avoid the frenzied assault.
“It was at least six feet long, with teeth,” he tells Gran later,
improvising while looking at her tombstone dentures.
She bribes him to stop blubbering with a ninety nine.
-John Wolf 15th July 2021.
Green, red-edged, sharp and searching,
spiralling enquiringly in the air,
alighting jerkily onto rock faces,
mossy openings and mussel pools,
tearing the air with newness.
-Alison Dunhill (from her newly published pamphlet with SurVision, ‘As Pure as Coal Dust’)
gulls pluck their supper
from a rock pool
– Wendy Toth Notarnicola
Before the tide turns I wend my own way.
Starfish tube-feet caress my mussel beds
Beadlet, snakelocks anemones snare prey,
sting it with their tentacles, and shore crabs
scrupulously pick over carcasses.
From under my fringing seaweed shannies
and prawns dart to shelter in crevices,
overhangs, safe and secure nooks and crannies.
One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight,
next I’m cold enough to ripple shivers.
Soon it’ll wash over and we unite.
Soon I’ll have new creatures to discover.
In the wane I’ll have my own way,
Every to and fro never the same.
Bios and Links
–Wendy Toth Notarnicola
is a freelance writer and editor from Long Valley, New Jersey. She enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and three children, going on nature walks, and playing flute in a community orchestra. She also enjoys writing haiku and short stories, and her work has been accepted for publication in several journals, including Everyday Fiction, Wales Haiku Journal, Presence, Poetry Pea, Frogpond, Hedgerow, and several anthologies. She earned first place in the 2021 Capstone International Center Sakura Haiku Contest, honorable mention in the 34th Annual Sakura Festival Haiku Contest, and was a finalist in the 31st Ito En Oi Ocha Shinhaiku Contest, Japan.