Lighten Up Online

The quarterly light verse webzine

Steven Clayman: The Sea Anemone

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

                       Sea-Anemones by Giacomo Merculiano. (1895 print)

 

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