From the forest, males are sprawling.
Over craggy cliffs, they’re crawling,
scuttling toward the sea.
Into sandy shores, they furrow,
digging a protective burrow,
near the sounding sea.
Now the frantic females hurry.
To the waiting males they scurry,
skittering toward the sea.
Eggs are laid where water’s creeping.
Waves come closer, sweeping, sweeping
egg sacs out to sea.
Baby crabs, born in the ocean,
synchronize their sideways motion.
Millions leave the seas,
and head back to the trees.
published in The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry, 2015, ed. J. Patrick Lewis,
The Red Crabs of Christmas Island
The crabs of Christmas Island,
work hard to give their gifts.
They scuttle miles from forest homes,
and crawl down craggy cliffs.
The female crabs lay treasures,
then wrap them in a sac.
They leave their gifts for tides to take,
and then they double back.
In one month, newborn crablets
come tumbling from the foam.
Then, like their parents, they climb up
to find a forest home.
But though I was happy with the Christmas metaphors I managed to squeeze into this version, I was ultimately unhappy with this poem, and drafted another version (the one above). I'm glad I did!
Here's to a new year of poetry, light and happiness. Wishing you all the best in 2021!