Monthly Archives: September 2016

Mass Mortality of the Heart Urchin

The sea-potato, Echinocardium Cordatum, inhabits the sea-bed

lives up to twenty years in a permanent burrow,

ambulacra crammed beneath hard-packed sand in pentamerous symmetry.

Mass mortality of the Heart Urchin is twofold and of the seasons.

First, a winter storm disturbs the deep; chokes those burrows with sand,

Smothering the hearts with chaos, pressure too great to bear.

Then the husks, spewed up onto the strand,

Picked over by undiscriminating gulls; Dilber and Stretch on a future Christmas morning.

Or picture a summer, if you prefer your tragedies unusually hot,

The sun’s over-attention spreads a blanket of decaying plankton over that sea-bed,

Deoxygenating the water as it settles down to rest.

Poor, unfortunate hearts, forced up, up in search of breathing space,

Suffocated for want of air,

They and their stellate potato-babies, thrown in their thousands onto a harsh white beach,

So that you may chance upon them

As you gasp in surprise

As the desert-hot sand burns the soles of your feet through cheap holiday shoes

Or as you lie, buried to the neck with your music box and gun,

Praying to a clearblue sky for the deliverance of cloud.