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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Peter Emery is now happily retired from a career in management and consultancy. As a part of his retirement plans he has started to write poetry again, job demands having interrupted his writing some twenty-five years ago just as he was beginning to be published regularly. Peter writes across a broad spectrum covering mainstream and lighter verse, and describes his typical poem as “somewhere between Lichfield and O’Henry” (that is Lord Lichfield, the photographer, of course).