Lobster Roll

You’d think first you’d grab a crustacean,
Which is the main ingredient of the roll.
Actually, you first stop at a dairy station
For brown butter will provide the soul.
Pick up some rolls in the New England style
And toast them lightly on either side.
Melt the butter and let it toast a short while
And a lobster grilled, steamed, not fried.
The meat will come mainly from the claws
And then toss it in the butter that’s brown.
Place it the rolls judiciously and pause
To ladle any leftover butter around
The meat. Then, just a squeeze of lemon
And what do you know, it’s complete!
It may drip on your chin, but I reckon
It’s worth it as its so good to eat.

Lobster Rolls! Lobster rolls CAN be made with mayonnaise as well, but I think the butter version is superior. Some people dice up chives or raw onion. Those people are monsters.

I am a mayonnaise apologist, but I do prefer butter. I also prefer New England style hot dog rolls – my first lobster roll, I thought was served in plain white bread as they are split on the top! 

Panther

They stalk quietly, not to avenge
Though, to some humanity, they could justify revenge.
Their interest, instead, lay toward their prey –
A hare, dear, stork – a little mouse grey.
It may stumble upon a reptilian battle
An alligator find could be its death rattle.
But, if removed from a space where it swims,
The panther, instead, will be one who wins.
The rate of dismissal now thankfully slowed
Though many undone by the busiest roads.
A life in Florida can be terrible harsh
When daring to exit the motherland marsh.
As others, their existence carries a sad metric
They lack past generations diverse genetics.

The Florida Panther is a subspecies of puma, cougar, mountain lion – the large cat that haunts the Ozarks and fur trapping young men. Endemic, naturally, to Florida. It’s population has seen a slight rebound from the teen-twenties to the low hundreds. As in, 120 in the wild. It suffers from hunting, habitat loss, and environmental poisonings. Also feline leukemia. And roads. It gets struck quite a bit crossing the road.

It is the only mountain lion in the Eastern United States, though sightings come out every so often in northern states. I had a college friend who swears he saw one crossing the road.

If you find a cougar in the wild, you are supposed to use your coat to look larger than normal to scare it away. Take your chances.

Brazilian GuitarFish

Out to fish
Many fish
Overfish
Guitar Fish

You cannot play it.
But what fun to say it.
It looks like a skate.
Also similar in weight.

Say! This fish is not doing so great!

The females get catched
Before eggs lay or hatch.
None are sad
And none are glad
But all are doing bad.

If your health and wealth
Bring you to the continental shelf
See the surf swish and make a wish
For the Brazilian Guitar Fish.

 

Easter Sunday

Easter Eggs

If you travel Fringed Hill in New Zealand fair
Take care for fragile eggs grow there.
They are not laid, or set or placed.
They grew from mycological lace.
It runs ‘neath the ground, in threads microscopic
Until its fruiting body becomes periscopic
Popping out of the ground brown and round till it shows
A pale white center near the base of your toes.
This fungus amongus is considerably rare,
Found only on Fringed Hill in New Zealand fair.

Volcano Rabbit

On the high slopes of four Volcanoes
In the mountainous mountains of Mexico
A rabbit, almost the smallest of all,
Hides in the forest to grow.

Like most lagomorphs, it is eats mostly plants
But may gain some protein from a snack of small ants.
As it dines and drinks during the twilight
Heading to bed before it’s darkest night.

These diminutive bunnies hide in the Zacaton
Away from the predators seeking to snack on
The Volcano Rabbit. And of course there is man
Who used to make farmland as fast as it can.

But, despite a habitat split into fractions,
There have been good people taking good actions
To preserve this example of genetic diversity
And to help it overcome it’s eco-adversity.

Eggs and Rabbits are inexplicably linked with the Easter Holiday – an example that synergy and branding are very old concepts indeed. Fischer’s Eggs are egg-like fungus growing in New Zealand. It is a surprise to many that, yes, even mushrooms can be endangered. Though, fungus and bacteria possess incredible genetic diversity with new species discovered in differing teaspoons of forest soil!

The Volcano Rabbit has a heavy metal name, but would likely die if placed in a mosh pit. It is larger than only the pygmy rabbit in the world of rabbits, closely resembling a pika. Which is an animal that looks a lot like a rabbit, but isn’t one. It lives in Mexico on Four Volcanoes. Most of its troubles are a loss of habitat due to humanity. So, you know, humans are the worst.

Happy Easter! Otherwise, Happy Sunday!

Corals

(To the tune of Lorde’s Royals – I might do a video as it’s hard to read it)

A Cnidarian colonial
Existing with motility sessile
The reef is quite baronial
For all the creatures in which to nestle

Such as the sponges, clownfish, purple nudibranches –
Turtles, urchins, zooxanthelae patches.
They don’t care – it’s the habitat of their dreams.
And so there’s mollusks, sea stars, lots of phytoplankton –
Morays, lobsters, an invertabraic sanctum –
All they need is an ocean in which feed.

But we’re losing our coral (coral)
Wrap your arm in a black band
As reefs slowly fill with sand
Oh its end is close at hand.
Growing ever smaller (smaller)
Turning to a bone white reef.
And baby soon, oh soon, oh soon, oh soon –
They might be a fantasy.

Scientists have cracked the code.
They’ve figured out the ocean acidification –
Can cause polyps to grow and glow brighter in color
A sign of their stagnation.

The warmer water causes lower reef health –
Symbiotic algae finding itself expelled
Leaving it – susceptible to disease.
Leaving this diverse and vibrant sea life ecosystem
To slowly wither as in a food web cataclysm –
Why do we care? Our marine life is under there.

But we do need coral (Coral)
It fixes nitrogen and carbon
At levels seen as a bargain
Compared to land plants’ own burden –
They stop big waves sooner (sooner)
Preventing bad erosion.
They kickstart life, start life, start life, start life
In the seabed of the ocean.

Coral Reefs are amazing habitats of biodiversity. They protect shorelines, help provide data for climate scientists, and are dying. Along with ocean warming due to climate change, acidification as carbon is absorbed isn’t helping.

This whole series of poems is preachy; this one is a bit more so, I guess. Jumping back from sandwiches and vaccines to a pretty serious problem. We can survive without pangolins, but we need coral reefs. We really do – they kickstart food chains we are part of, marine speaking.

Edit: Video of the performance. Scansion’s off, but okay Find it here.

Pangolin Sandwich

20190413_1848413907152036493225046.jpg
Please, do not eat pangolins.

Some choose to dine in a life of fine living and exotic meat –
Is the life of Pangolins worth only a tasty treat?
Let us document with vigor, in rigorous alliance
To determine the flavor of one through double-blinded science!

Our goal is narrow, simple, clear – are pangolins delicious?
Accompanied with wine or beer? Are they found nutritious?
Appropriate in stir fry, or perhaps a stew with roots?
Nestled in a marble rye? Diced small with citrus fruits?

Yes, these answers we set to obtain at a dinner party tonight.
Served whole from tail to brain – the first course is a fright.
Regard the animal’s thick scales. I suspect one should remove them first.
Worse than chewing fingernails – this first course is the worst.

Guests next sample soup, then cheese made from the mammalian ducts
(A delicate culinary coup – we really are in luck!)
A braise, a boil, a fricassee, followed by carpaccio
As we all do wish to see if raw has more flavor to show.

Nine pangolins, then ten, and twenty, eaten from the wild.
Knowledge provided so we many can stop a population defiled.
After Pangolin pudding eaten cold, we compared our notes in anguish
Discovering it best between two rolls in a dense Pangolin Sandwich.

PANGOLIN SANDWICH
First you take a pangolin and trim it free of scales,
Then stand over the kitchen sink to eject a mournful wail.
This helps assuage the guilt before your morbid feast.
Take a whole wheat roll and split it on opposite sides of the beast.

Pangolin, it benefits from addition of a spicy aioli
As well as thin layers of cheese, taking care to slice it slowly.
When is best to devour this rich and ripe repast?
You’ll have to hunt it quickly, because it’s going fast.

At the risk of good taste, hopefully some levity in the proceedings. Pangolins suffer from a reputation as an exotic and tasty meat desired by the wealthy. An unbelievable number are taken from the wild each year to be consumed. Their scales are used as medicine. As with the Rhino – they are keratin rich. Perhaps the ill rich could eat their own toenails?

A pangolin eats ants and is really an interesting creature to see. They are largely nocturnal, able to swim, and deeply endangered. There are eight species of them. They also have stink glands for defense and marking. 

I wish to make it clear I do not advocate the eating of pangolins.

Bumble

20190412_2200312807255216293343342.jpg

What power in flights of the bumblebee
Hovering abuzz among sweet flowers
I admit one so small does humble me.

Blossom to bloom, wings flap and rumble free
Climbing petals to apex of bower
What power in flights of the bumble bee.

Swiping pollen to stamen in umbel sea
Sipping nectar, flitting hour to hour
I admit one so small does humble me.

Brave men grunt in wild, yet with grumbling flee
(The threat of stinger leads them to cower)
What power in flights of the bumblebee.

 

Home made in remains of a crumbled tree
Five thousand flowers a day it empowers.
I admit one so small does humble me.

Alas, my poem serves as short fumbled plea
For their scarcity fills me with dour.
What power in flights of the bumble bee –
I admit one so small does humble me.

The rusty-patched bumblebee is a bumblebee and it is endangered. The world of bees is shaken to its core. Many culprits have arisen, though I suspect many culprits are guilty. Bumblebees, mason bees, other bees – are better at pollinating than honeybees. But we get honey from honeybees. Maybe that’s why?

The rusty-patch does live in large colonies. It is named for a rust-colored patch of hair on its abdomen. Bumblebees are not necessarily friendly, but they tend to leave people alone if left alone themselves. They can sometimes be found, exhausted, lying on the ground. Sometimes a bit of sugar water can energize them. Individual bees do not have long lifespans, however – they exist to serve the colony.

Bees are terribly important ecologically, also economically.

The poem is a villanelle. I have written exactly one before this, but I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I also hope we can help the bees.

Whale Fall

20190407_111821A journey of  slow descent to the ocean floor.
Does it begin as the spirit leaves?
Will it’s family miss
Now it’s gone?
Falling
Slowly
toward
The
Abyss
Calling
A banquet
Into
Session.

Darkness

Grows

Darker

As

Water

Grows

Deeper

All

In One

Piece

Since

Death

Came

In

Peace

The

Slow

Progression

Of Bodies

In Motion

Sliding

 

Further

 

 

Into Darkness

 

 

To Land

 

 

 

 

On the floor of the Ocean.

Blue Whales are one of several species of endangered whales. The Blue Whale is the largest animal that we know of to ever have lived on Earth. Despite its great size, it eats some of the smallest – existing on krill and plankton strained into its great baleen plates.

Whales are big. Unbelievably big. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, you think an Elephant eclipses your buddy Roy, but it’s just peanuts to a whale. The only whale I have seen is a humpback, and I was completely thrown by the size. Blue Whales are over twice as large (their heart is the size of a small car). A blue whale calf can be 40 feet long!

They are threatened by hunting and ocean health in general. As with most ocean species, climate change is having an adverse effect.

While doing research for this poem, I found a great little write-up on whale fall by Ursula Vernon. Poetic (though likely inaccurate) to imagine an old whale passing peacefully in the ocean, sinking slowly to the floor to create entire ecosystems.