Ode to an Octopus
Shape-shifter of the sea, I’ve come to love
Your strange sophistication; out of place
In liquid labyrinths – your form sings of
Odd creatures from the sphere of outer space.
Yet here among anemones and fish,
An ocean star shines beautiful and bright.
Your flirty skirt of legs skims past a reef
In colours conjured by an inner wish
To hide your blushing pulse of pure delight,
As awestruck eyes look on in disbelief.
Houdini of the blue, you shrink and slink
Through crevices defying common sense.
Contortion and a dirty squirt of ink
Hoodwink eel and shark. Your skill’s immense!
From jiggle-jelly soft to craggy rock,
You morph from smooth to rough with ease and speed,
Invisible to those who crave your taste.
The predators, they circle, and they flock;
Your flesh so sweet, they’re driven by their greed –
A frenzied greed that won’t lay you to waste.
Some see you as a gorgon of the waves;
A devil of earth’s salty, surging swell,
A digger of dead sailor’s briny graves,
A slimy siren crooning men to hell,
A Kraken sucking rasping gasps of breath
From lungs that burn for draughts of quenching air.
Once I feared you. Now I understand.
I see a life, defying threat of death
With triple-hearted grace and wicked flair,
Fair mollusc of the surf and golden sand.
Susan Jarvis Bryant
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Susan
Jarvis Bryant would be pleased to hear them.