mercredi 30 janvier 2008
They know how I sound
They all have felt it : the
Whooshing train for
Which you have waited so impatiently,
So easily riding through your
Fingers, slippering away, like
The spaghetti off my fork, making
The pool of sauce splash
On my shirt, but I can't find
It anymore, how can I possibly
Recover it among this collection
Of identical copies.
Or a cat falling off a roof.
They've all heard it but they've
Never actually seen the eyes.
This woman here is as round as a porcupine fish
And the man on her side looks no friendlier
Than the grouper in the street.
I wish I’d never left the Bering sea !
Well, why deny it ? I’m an octopus.
But an octopus from the Arctic ocean,
And not from any part of it, please notice,
An octopus from the deep and cold, and cold and gloomy Bering sea !
Now what am I doing in this aquarium ?
Holy abyss, what am I doing here ?
Humans walk past my cage of glass and they hardly give a damn:
Hardly a damn ! To me ! The Bering octopus !
But what is most appalling to me is the caption,
Which reads: “Arctic octopus” with all my Latin and Turkish names,
My very thorough pedigree, and doesn’t mention once
That I come from the Bering sea !
Swimming to and fro in the transparent flaccidity of my aquarium –
Of our aquarium, mind you, for I have to share it with others –
Swimming, or rather shrinking and expanding in a sea-like swelling motion,
Making the most of that gorgeous skirt of mine,
With all the grace that is peculiar to octopuses,
I kill time, like I used to, deep down in the Bering sea.
Most of my neighbors are not discourteous.
I mean, they know how to behave.
For I have seen the Cold War from closer than any of you !
From the bottom of my Bering sea, I’ve seen the submarines,
So many of them that I could not count – though octopuses can count –
Let alone tell apart the Americans from the Russians.
But I can see the fish aren’t listening to me.
They’re gaping at the visitors, waiting stupidly for them to feed us.
Stupid fish from the Arctic ocean ! One day one of them will gulp me down,
Without even realizing that I come from the Bering sea.
mardi 29 janvier 2008
Best to you all, and thanks to the students whose wonderful work is part of this blog!