News From the Natural World: Ode to a Tide Pool

Last week, as part of Laura Shovan’s #WaterPoemProject, former Young People’s Poet Laureate, Margarita Engle offered the following prompt:

Is there a shore that makes you nostalgic? Were there mysteries in the water, such as the manatees, sharks, crocodiles, and caymans of Cuba’s estuaries? Does it comfort you to remember times when travel to that place was easy?

Can you join me in believing that times of joyful travel to beloved shores will gradually return?

Yes, in fact there is a beloved shore that makes me nostalgic. When I was a kid, my family spent a week each summer in Rhode Island on the shores of Narragansett Bay. I have so many happy memories of these vacations that I’ve spent the past two days trying to find a way into this poem. This poem is still very “drafty” and I’m not sure it fills the bill as an ode, but here it is.

Ode to a Tide Pool

Yours is a salty world of extremes.
Half the day, you’re buffeted
by crashing waves.
But as the tide
your submerged
are slowly

Barnacles, armored
in suits of calcium carbonate,
feed with feathery feet.
Knotted wrack and Irish moss
drop anchor on your rocks
alongside mussels
who slurp
plankton stew
served up by the sea.
Periwinkles forage
glassy diatoms
and sea stars hide
amongst rockweed.

Soon, the tide returns.
Once more, you’re hidden
by the ocean’s splash and spray
and the cycle begins again.

Draft, © Catherine Flynn, 2020

Tide pool at Beavertail State Park

Other “News From the Natural World” poems:

April 11: What Does A Bird’s Egg Know?
April 10: Clusters of Clover
April 9: Song of the Pink Moon
April 8: Jewel of the Jungle
April 5: Phantom of the Forest
April 4: To Build a Nest
April 3: Apple Cake
April 2: Specimen
April 1: Forest Snail

20 thoughts on “News From the Natural World: Ode to a Tide Pool

  1. Beautiful imagery and great personification! I especially like the lines, “armored in suits of calcium carbonate/ feed in feathery feet” and how they contrast. I can hear the mussels slurping “plankton stew.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was grown and a teacher before I even knew about tide pools. You are fortunate to have grown up with them, but now I’ve seen them in Mexico and Costa Rica and Oregon and often wish I had them very very close. You’ve shown the magic of them here, Catherine, that magic that slowly emerges, the ‘plankton stew’ and ‘seastars’ hiding. I love it all!

    Liked by 1 person

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