Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15: Let us swim with the sharks

Let us
swim with the sharks;
reservations only
at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Gentle creatures we're told:
we'll cage dive to see
nurse sharks, lemon sharks,
blacktip reef sharks,
horse-eye jacks,
maybe a stray butterfly fish.
or a politician.

We are safer than some
38 million sharks,
their fins harvested each year
for soup. They sink and drown
like my mother.
she was no shark,
but the sea is not gentle.

I make chicken soup with dumplings.
my grandmother's recipe.
Somehow chicken seems safer,
like albacore in a can,
chicken of the sea;
I pretend I don't see the cages.

Lemon Shark (Wikipedia)

Today's prompt from OctPoWriMo asks us to write a poem inspired by the news, as in, the news, my muse. Today's headlines are all about furloughed workers, a government shutdown, and an impasse that continues to shake the market and our credibility worldwide. But there on the first page, an article caught my eye -- "Tacoma Aquarium offers dive with sharks." And something clicked. Surprisingly, today's poem.

For more pictures of sharks: Your Shark Pictures - National Geographic
Info on shark dives at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Why not jump in and join us in writing a poem a day for October?


  1. I love hearing about what sparked a piece for a writer. Really enjoyed the poem, too!

  2. I really like this! I have a soft spot for sharks.

  3. Oh my, that last stanza, Beth. I never know what I'm going to get when I come here, but I know I'll love it! X

  4. Thank you all for visiting and commenting. Cindy, I don't often write poetry -- except for these months of poetry challenge as my own writing comes first (fiction), but maybe I like to write about process because I'm always surprised by what triggers a poem. It's fun to hear what 'sparks' others too.

    Christine, the sharks are beautiful, but they are opportunistic feeders. And, Shah, thank you. That image of 'cage' for the sharks, for the people, and for chickens stuck with me. May you have a great week!

  5. Great word tapestry!

  6. "They sink and drown, like my mother" personal and moving with the picture of the sharks sinking. A personal moving poem.