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.