Ode to the Octopus

You think me a delicacy,
braised and grilled with tangy sauce–
raw, prepared as sushi–
in a salad perhaps, tossed.
You think my senses merely serve
to aid in my survival–
that my existence
is secondary to what you deserve–
a special meal without rival.
And what of my disappearance?

My body is all potential,
alien to your bones–
my way of life, untranslatable
as words or thought alone.
I study you, your habits,
both curious and sly–
resisting my captivity,
escaping from your limits–
forcing you to abide
with me if me you wish to study.

I am my own canvas, I paint
colors with light and disguise–
my form always in flux, I create
patterns of magic, surprise.
Once we were one, at home
in the sea, the waters of birth–
since opened by history, cleaved–
now you claim land as your own,
along with all creatures of earth–
disenchanted inside your vast greed.

When I saw the NaPoWriMo prompt this morning, to write a poem that anthropomorphizes a kind of food, the first thing that came to mind was how I could never eat octopus again after reading Peter Godfrey Smith’s book about them, Other Minds. These paintings are from a previous post where I also used the voice of a cephalopod, though not from the point of view of being eaten.

I promised Muri I would attempt an Ode–just as difficult as I expected. And this one needs work. But the octopus is more than worthy as a subject for one