Ode to a sand crab
A short ode to thee, my dear friend the crab
Whose life I once thought must be rather drab.
On the whole unexciting, most boring and bland
What joy could one find living life in the sand?
I walked by the shore and saw crabs by the score
And felt in my heart a great need to know more.
So I queried the crab, without being too forward
Of her constant displacement both seaward and shoreward.
She seemed quite surprised that I should inquire
Why crabs stay where they stay, rarely lower or higher.
We looked at each other eyeball to eyestalk,
And I listened intently as she started to talk.
“If we stray to high, we’re sure to be dried
So we make quite an effort to descend with the tide.
But with the fish in the surf, we must stay out of reach,
So we go with the tide when the tide moves upbeach.”
She went on with a sigh, “Ah, the things you should know.
You people, like crabs, should just go with the flow.
The waves bring us food, the sand’s a soft bed
We spend our time eating, preparing to shed.”
I pondered the crab and the crab’s view of fun,
Hiding out from the birds, and the fish, and the sun.
No family ties, no dad and no mum
And a diet consisting of diatom scum.
The difference between us is not so profound
My head’s in the air, and your head’s in the ground.
But Nature, I think, oft tends to repeat;
We all feed and respire, find mates, and excrete.
So what if my skin is so soft and you’re hardened,
You’d think such slight differences ought to be pardoned.
Where Nature’s concerned, there aren’t any norms
A life is a life, in all of its forms.
Paul Siegel, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara