Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Invention of Otter

Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different.
~Neil Gaiman

A poem by Dr. Miriam Darlington, the author of Owl Sense.

No one can say how
it came out of the water
or how it plucked pebbles
from the river's pockets
and made thoughts

no one can say
how the night made nostrils
and whiskered its way
from the roots of an oak
no one can say

how its rudder thickened
with the wind, made fur
ripple into a stream
or how the storm muscled
a heart out of the moor

who can say when the eel
learnt fear, or the trout
first felt speed shiver
through its sides?
Only, when it swims
all the water leans towards it
frays air into a swilling of pearls
and streams love themselves more deeply.

All I can say is, at that moment
poetry nosed its way into the world
took its place among the four elements
made them five, and now
when night silks the water
the weave of it says
shshsh, keep it secret


Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Buffy!


Linda B said...

It's a beautiful idea, that world made of otter, then the poetic secret, at least that's the way it's touching me. Thanks, Tabatha.

Mary Lee said...

What a fascinating combination of quote and poem! They resonate!

tanita✿davis said...

Ooh, lovely.
I think it was Otter Day again at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium yesterday; my twitter feed was nothing but otter pictures, so this is a nice cap to that.

Buffy Silverman said...

Otter as inventor of poetry--love the concept, and the line "poetry nosed its way into the world."

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

This is one of those poems I read and then think, now why can't I write something like that???

Robyn Hood Black said...

"frays air into a swilling of pearls " - Oh my goodness, I swooned through this entire poem. Thanks for sharing, Tabatha. And pearls of wisdom from Neil Gaiman are always welcome. (More swooning.)

Kay said...

I love this poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Michelle Kogan said...

Such a gorgeous poem, I love poetry growing out of it and as the 5th "element." And these two lines,
"frays air into a swilling of pearls
and streams love themselves more deeply."

Here's to more otter like poetry, thanks Tabatha!

Molly Hogan said...

So beautiful! I especially loved these lines : "or the trout
first felt speed shiver
through its sides? " And ditto what Michelle said. Sigh...

Mitchell Linda said...

Oh, to be taken to the mystery of creation in this poem.....when poetry became the fifth element. What a stunning, stunning poem. I love it. I think I need this book. Thank you for sharing this Tabatha! I love learning from you.