Cephalopod Poetry Digest

Contributing Authors
A collection of cephalopod-themed poetry submitted to TONMO.

artwork by Nancy King
Poem: After Squid School

Pell-mell, they swish and brush and sweep
Tumbling in one promiscuous heap.
Until you wonder by what token
They 'scape with all their tentacles unbroken.
Bold, reckless, cunning, cool, or sly
What won't they try?
Tis an epitome of life
Without its shades of cares and strife;
Each has its private joke and cracks it
Regardless how the other takes it.
And there's the point--squids take rough jokes
More pleasantly than lesser flukes
Not heeding what's said or done
So they can have their fill of fun.
-- Dominick Tracy, April 18, 2002

Poem: Pirouette of the Octopus

Dear tonmo,

Ever since the PBS Nature program, The Octopus Show, I have been fascinated by them. Soon after the program ended, I wrote this poem.

Lisa Bergemann

Your arms outstretch-
A radiant star bursting in the ocean.
A gymnast in waters-
Such elegance and power!
Your mysterious intelligence
Excites the curiosity.
From the deepest oceans to the shallowest streams
I know your dances I always will see.

If only all could know
Your beauty, strength, and mind
And see the works of God's hands in you
Right before their very eyes.

-- Lisa Bergemann, 2001

Poem: The Squid

The diaphanous squid darting
so fast even the shark can't approach.
Its propulsion system, jet-like water streams, never
allows anyone, anything near.
Like dust specks in the air they evade
on the penultimate day of their lives.
Clinging, male, female, their tentacles
searching to touch, to place, sperm with egg.
Copulating, couples, threesomes, foursomes, by the billions,
a fog of squid above the ocean floor.

And the shark, and the porpoise, swordfish and salmon streak
with funnel-like mouths through the squid cloud.
The clumping squid in their frenzy seek even
to touch, to mate with, their predators.

The nuptial night ended, lying like snowdrifts
upon the ocean bottom, males spent, dead; and females
struggle to eject their egg capsules, then
their function completed, join their mates.
Saprophytes converge
in a day, in two, the bottom
barren again except
speckling the sand waiting,
the eggs.

-- Richard Fein
Original publish date
Mar 4, 2003
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About the Author
Tony converted TONMO.com into an octopus and cephalopod interest site in May 2000. (Find out more about how TONMO started by reading this blog entry.) He began his career in the online services industry in 1992, working for companies such as Prodigy, iVillage.com, Reuters and Comcast. Tony and his wife Tania are the owners of Deep Intuition, LLC, which is an entity they created to support their entrepreneurial hobbies and pursuits. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a B.A. in Mass Communication and lives in Pennsylvania.


Love the poems above!
I once invented an evil prehistoric cephalopod to be the embodiment of fear in one of my marine stories, set 20 million years ago. I called her Erishkigal and spent an entire day working at finding names for her arms and working them all into this tiny 12 word poem.

Erishkigal Shadow Queen
Vipa, Venga, Malevine,
Lucifina, Sadistine,
Fera, Lashette and Claw-dine.

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