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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
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!
My other poems
- Finding Poetry in the Parts of a Shell
Before I knew about shells, I had no idea that their different parts were so interesting! Each part has a name and the name is new and fresh and poetic. Each shell part name conjures up amazing imagery and yet in itself is a beautiful word. And then
- Shell Names Read Like Poetry on a Salty Tongue
This poem is a poem that looks at the many beautiful different names of shells. It honors those poetic shell names with a poem just for them. It reflects how the beauty of the shells brought back all of my senses and made me feel inspired about life
- Hush Little Baby: A Poem
This poem is dedicated to the too-young children of abuse that I worked with over the years. I wrote it by taking the original nursery rhyme and adding to it to change its meaning as abuse changes childhood.
- At 20, At 30: A Poem
At 20, At 30 is a poem about aging. It is written line by line, alternating between the experience of something at age 20 and how that has changed upon reaching age 30. And it ends with a look towards the future beyond age 30.
- Stunted: A Poem
This is a fairly fresh poem about a topic that I haven’t yet found it easy to talk about in a less vague, more open way. That’s what I love about poetry; you can explore the depths of your feelings and find a way to express yourself without having to
- Abalone: A Shell Poem
These poems try to describe what individual shells are like in comparison to other shells, what makes them unique and different. In the case of the abalone, it’s the inner world that requires you to look beyond just the basic common shell and into a