Consider the anemone:
Nominally, it is something of an anomaly.
On land it is delicate and flowery,
At sea it is decidedly carnivore-y.
The Neptunian variety seems the epitome of femininity,
Gentler even than the affable manatee,
With a velvety soft and vaguely floral anatomy
Billowing many-hued from lemony to cinnamony.
But this tableau is illusory.
It is, in actuality, a predatory enemy
Of the entire diminutive aquatic bestiary.
Possessed of a crest of tentacularity,
It is utterly lethal and lacking in charity.
The cunning rascality
Of concealed animality
Verges on criminality.
O say can you, sea anemone,
Account for your veiled enmity?
What sinister cosmogony
Explains you and your progeny?
A bubble-borne riposte arose from the sea
In a voice strangely moist but with calm certainty.
“ It was not fated to be,” said the sage ’nemone;
“Chalk it up to fortuitous phylogeny.”
The self-satisfied polyp struck a pose, all quivery,
Which a nearby crustacean mistook for come-hithery.
Its ingestion is a lesson in selection, naturally,
And the perennial perils of perception v. reality.
Sea-Anemones by Giacomo Merculiano. (1895 print)
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Lee Nash lives in France and freelances as an editorial designer for a UK publisher. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the UK, the US and France including The French Literary Review, The Dawntreader, The Lake, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Orbis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Interpreter's House, The World Haiku Review, Black Poppy Review and Silver Birch Press. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems at www.leenashpoetry.com