Slit Shells: Hirase’s vs. Rumphius

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Slit Shells: Hirase’s vs. Rumphius


Clearly you are cousins

Similar characteristics betray your shared lineage

Outsiders think you are one and the same

But you hardly recognize one another

Hirase’s takes pride

In crescent-shaped markings

On a rough-hewn slit

Strong heavy sturdiness

Tall spires

Pearlized columnella

Rumphius laughs

His spire is shorter

But he is larger in girth

More fragile but also more unique

Long and narrow slit against

Wide and deep umbilicus

Strikingly stunning contrast of natural design

They oppose each other with differences

But both are Pleurotmariidae

Both are shaped like spinning tops

Whirling in a confusing world

Born and raised near Japan

Heavier than other members of the same family

Ornamented in some ways like their pinkish markings

The same, but different

Which side can you see?


Beyond the Poem


This poem comes from a series of poems inspired by the different shells that exist in the world. One of the things that I found most striking as I delved into deep research about different types of shells was that there are so many shells that have subtle differences from one another. To the casual observer, two shells may look the same. However there are people who collect shells and who can see dramatic differences in the subtleties of details between shells.

This is probably true of almost anything in both the natural and manmade world. To someone who isn’t familiar with the details of a craft or item, all of those items seem the same. Another example would be the craft of crochet. Those who don’t do it think it’s all the same and may even lump it in with knitting. Those who do crochet know that there are numerous different types of crochet, each with its own unique differences.

This line of thinking opens up two huge issues for me that I try to explore here and that I also want to explore deeper in future writings. The first is the excitement about how much there is to learn in this world. The second is how much we limit ourselves when we see only the surface of things.

In terms of the first issue, it thrills me that there are so many things in this world that I don’t know yet and that I can learn if I take the time. Where once I saw a basic shell, I can now see a Hirase’s vs. a Rumphius and there’s something amazing about that. I want to continue to always be excited about exploring new worlds. Poetry is great for that because it can introduce and encourage you to the details of little things that you might have only looked at superficially before.

On a deeper level, I think it is always important to try to see beyond the surface of a thing to its core. This is especially true when it comes to people. We shouldn’t lump types of people together but we certainly do. If we take the time to look at their similarities and differences, we will be able to enjoy the unique characteristics that we all share as human beings. And I hope that I have expressed that clearly here.

Some shells are fascinating but deadly!

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Comments 1 comment

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

It was fascinating to read.

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