Ninth Day -Crabs And Other Crustacea
-Hermit in the turret photo by Ankh Spice
Group therapy for clever crabs
There were no windows and we spoke of home
as therapy – those who had tongues not yet unhooked by their dosage
Mrs Jesus sang, predictably
– Ave, ave, the roasting flare of the sacred heart the warmest hearth – her rosary
chattering DT-teeth in time with our rolling eyes
Quiet Joni said nothing, but beyond her starved-skull-smile a hatbox
spiralled out coloured scarves in the wind of a Julie-Andrews meadow, popping daisies
Simon, lion-posed on his chair, just roared for the fortieth time that morning
his teacup bounced steel drums, greening-gold, Zion’s royal spires and he the king of crowds
The nurse foghorned on what about family, what about people and houses and such
things that are normal like windows and loved ones and gardens, until
my faraway reason-voice came as grey paint – please understand, we are only crabs
And I could not say this then – when the weight
of the world cracks your careful shell
the pink cringe of a person
finds whatever it needs to mean safety – a rusty can a palace
when everything else has been thrown away
-Barnacle photo by Andy MacGregor
You make a hard scrabble
over calloused rocks
where you’ve settled
in seashore shanty towns,
growing tough & waiting
through low times
to grab whatever scraps
the tides wash in.
I’d rather be a whelk
with a whorled palace,
gliding above it all
on my big belly-foot.
Crab photo by Sarah Louise Wheeler
CRABS & OTHER CRUSTACEA
lurk in crevices;
make sideways career moves
into familiar places.
turning soft skin
into leathery teak,
boast boringly and rhetorically;
say certain words often, ‘I’, ‘Me’, and ‘literally’;
weave word-legend they’ll never achieve.
Truth is, they’re bottom dwellers
hanging around sewage outfall pipes.
Only the Mantis Shrimp packs a punch.
Exist near the bottom of the food chain,
yet are eaten by some of the biggest creatures.
A bioluminescent wonder who lights up the ocean in a chemical flush.
They add romance to films like The Beach.
NASA used kryll oil to supplement astronaut diets;
the superfood until Spirulina arrived.
Are like trees in a rainforest,
providing shelter for other species.
They can grow on plastic rubbish,
even create a new ecosystem.
They remind me of Captain Pugwash –
-John Wolf 1st August 2021.
A single whale to eat his fill
Will swallow several tons of krill
Yet none complain at this scale of slaughter:
I bet krill think they bloody-well oughta.
The crab is quite drab
when viewed in the nude
but I’m always impressed
when I see one well-dressed.
-David Smith (Ivor Folio)
The Marine Sonnets:
Before I make my shell, I float in search
for a permanent place to live. My home
is beside others, where waves swell and lurch
I stick my head beside them. Make my dome,
secrete six plates outside myself. Include
four as one to open and close with ebb.
Aswim, I went through many changes, food
swam ahead of me, I chased, as it fled.
I stand on my head and eat with my feet.
My glue will outlast me. Incoming tide
makes me open to sift food brush and sweep
it into my shell to my head, inside.
I grow, enlarge my home, with neighbour
I make babies, who one eyed leave my door.
Bios And Links
is a writer and poet blessed with the good fortune to live in Royal Tunbridge Wells. He is rarely if ever disgusted, but often disappointed. Around 40% of David’s poetry is humorous verse for children, or so whimsical it might as well be. A further 40% is performance poetry, ranging from the humorous and whimsical to the obscene and acerbic, the latter often a reflection of that previously mentioned disappointment. He also writes ‘proper page poetry’ (which accounts for the remaining 20% for the sharp eyed, mathematically inclined among you) and is a regular contributor to the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society’s Folio. He rarely submits for publication, partly because he prefers the oral tradition and partly because he handles rejection badly. As one half of Flitt & Folio (Pam and Ivor to their friends) and one third of the Gluten-free Trio he also writes and performs comedy sketches and musical numbers. The poems offered below were written for ‘Fishy Fridays’, when on a whim he decided to write a poem a day for a year.