Saturday, July 23, 2011

Horseshoe crab graveyard

 Horseshoe crabs and I have a long history.
 Theirs longer than ours.

These were tossed up on a huge hill of dredge waste, peering through the gray mud.

I have witnessed much, most unspoken, in my years, as I am sure you have, too.

I do not understand, or trust, my silence.

Their blood runs blue, copper grasps the same oxygen molecules that let us strip electrons from our food.
 Our blood runs red, the deep rust of iron, 

Most of us can see, most of us can talk.

Our stories remain as opaque as the mud deep below the waters of the Delaware Bay, where now in the darkness, a solitary horseshoe crab consumes a careless clam, neither ever seen by humans.


They have not changed much in hundreds of millions of years, their life perfect for their world.

And now they rest on the spoils made by us, we who are impossibly foreign in our own skins, looking for something beyond this life.

When you walk the fissured hillock on a chilly April morning, the exoskeletons whisper what they know.

This is all, and all is enough.

Photos taken by me.


Mary Ann Reilly said...

Amazing post-poem. Left me speechless where I am staying, silent and knowing that is enuf.

Kathryn J said...

Excellent post! I thought of you when I was walking the flats on the bay side of Cape Cod at low tide. I was looking for but did not see any horseshoe crabs. I did see a hermit crab and many blue crabs - fairly certain that's what they were. I walked looking down until my neck hurt - it was wonderful!

doyle said...

Dear Mary Ann,

The break up of the lines was mostly accidental--I was ready to throw blogger out the window when laying out the photos.

Thanks for the kind words.

Dear Kathryn,

Next time you see a blue crab, poke your finger towards its face--if it's a blue, it will poke back.

Our horseshoe crabs have mostly settled back into the deeper, cooler water for now--a couple of night;s ago we saw a few carcasses, but no live ones came up with the rising tide.

I spend a chunk of the day catching comb jellies by hand--their iridescent edges are breathtakingly beautiful.

Kathryn J said...

I am ignorant about so much biology. Wouldn't the jelly fish sting you? The bayside water was quite warm so that probably explains the lack of horseshoe crabs.

The other crabs that I saw would dig themselves backward into the sand in the blink of an eye if they sensed that I was close. It was really amazing how fast they "disappeared".

doyle said...

Dear kathryn,

Comb jellies are a different animal than than jellyfish, though they do look alike--they don;t sting.

Our largest jellies around here--cannonballs or cabbage heads, named for obvious reasons--do not sting unless you rip them open.

The smaller nettles sting, but years ago i realized the fear was worse than the sting.