mercredi 30 janvier 2008

The Bering Octopus


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.

Jérôme Saulière

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