In tidal pools with their
time melted crab shells and
dribs and drabs of bright green seaweed
are many octopi
legs self entangled
magenta skin turning sweet rose
in sunny waters

It needs gentle prods with a
boot toe to confirm death
so fresh they look
no one else walking the busy
windswept beach seems
to notice or care

In one pool
a larger octopus is beached
as if trying to crawl
to escape back to the estuary
her tentacle tip touching
a bluegray pebble in supplication

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

16 thoughts on “Octopi  

  1. You temptress! I believe the beaches here are still closed. Fortunately, I know enough spots that are not “proper” beaches where I can lose myself in a wonderful walk… although I would enjoy it more if it stopped raining and perhaps a café was open for afterward. I have never been able to walk along the sea with shoes on and I can’t stay out of the water. We get some beautiful shells and even after more than a dozen years, I still marvel at it all. Besides the Mediterranean, the only place I have seen so much purple in shell colors was in Thailand and Vietnam. I wish everyone could be so fortunate to live somewhere that could still take their breath away, year after year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wasn’t meaning to tempt anyone! I thought a beach full of dead octopi was sad…

      You are very lucky to be near the sea. We are more than an hours drive from the coast. However, we live close to lovely countryside, so I’m not complaining.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Last October, a dear friend was visiting from Sacramento and when we went to Port-la-Nouvelle, the beach had hundreds of jellyfish washed up on the sand. It was sad and she clicked away with her camera and no doubt put some on her facebook page? An artist, she may have taken the images into a painting, sculpture or ?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So sad, when octopi beach themselves……..a year or two ago, somewhere in Europe, octopi were WALKING out of the sea, in numbers. So concerning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel Carson wrote wonderfully about the wild and perilous tidal zone, where so much life survives the toll and toil of land and sea. Had all these octopii died failing to get back to the sea? In human life, each of us is insurmountable; imagine the daily teeming mortality of bugs and sea-critters; how much life comes and goes in a day by the sea. Awful, yes, but also awesome. Thanks for bringing it to earthweal – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love beaches and poems about the coast, Kim. I love the ‘time melted crab shells and / dribs and drabs of bright green seaweed’ that set the scene in your poem, and the octopi’s ‘magenta skin turning sweet rose / in sunny waters’. But the shift to death in the second stanza is so sad, even when introduced with ‘gentle prods’, and how tragic that no one else seems to notice or care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sad – and the tang of salt so real in your poem that we invest in the beach walk with you before we discover the dead octopus. The last two lines are so tangibly sad and beautifully told.

    Liked by 1 person

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