09 May 2008

Thinking about squid (poem)

Live squid for sale, Hakodate, JapanCephalopod

Called spineless
but the structure
of your eye’s like ours
the brain too
complex admittedly
alien with other
solutions. You speak
in colours but we
refuse to listen deny
the sense of kin though
we too communicate
with the sense
of skin. Few touch
you and you
touch few. For
the most part your
parts serve us as
we serve you. We
consider you

a delicacy.

1. A poem from 2001. It seems topical now.
2. "You speak in colours..."

1. Live squid for sale, Hakodate market, Hokkaido, 2004. Smaller, but just as wonderful as the colossal squid. These are the only live squid I remember seeing, although I've seen octopus—including some rather substantial individuals—several times in the ocean. The photo, from a little Pentax Optio 555 digicam, has been modified using the technique mentioned in the last post. I don't want to overuse this, but it salvaged what I considered a nondescript photo — and given it was one of only a handful of cephalod photos I had to hand, I think it's justified. (I confess: I also used it to update the Emergence post.)

Photo and words © 2008 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Squids are cool, especially in Scrabble...

Bob McKerrow said...

A squid for your thoughts and poem Pete. Lots of meaning there. I just got back from Nias island where I have been for the week and saw lots of crabs and lobsters in the fish markets, but no squids. The contrast between the spineless ones and the shelly ones must be a foundation for another poem. Shelley was a poet but never wrote on squids or fish from memory.

Great to see you on the screen again.


Anonymous said...

Hokkaido. You didn't happen to notice a Bed & Breakfast near the Crane sanctuary called Hickory Wind did you? (The owner is a Gram Parsons fan)

My project manager for the House also built that B&B. I can't notice Hokkaido without thinking about the place, and connections.

c'est moi said...

Whimsy on a Saturday morning is always a good way to start the day. Those two articles links were very interesting tidbits, especially the first of the two; that's a load of sashimi!

robin andrea said...

We often have a discussion at our house about what a delicacy is. Roger likes to go clamming at the minus tides. He brings home native Little Necks and oysters. The oysters he eats raw straight out of the shell. I leave the room until it's over.

I think I know that particular Photoshop effect. I have an older application, but it's got a lengthy menu of such goodies.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, I hadn't thought of that. Been years since I've played Scrabble.

Bob, invertebrates in general boggle the mind. Their numbers, diversity, bizarre aspects, importance... yet for all but a miniscule proportion of humans, they're irrelevant except for their purely utilitarian effects on us — we think in terms of whether they eat or pollinate our crops, or bite us, or transmit diseases, etc. The giant and colossal squids are the only invertebrates I can think of that might come anywhere near being included in the list of "charismatic megafauna" — the gorillas, pandas, tigers, rhinos, etc.

Clare, no, I don't remember that B&B, although I didn't stop in at the crane sanctuary. The few days I had in Hokkaido I spent in Sapporo (at the backpacker place called "Ino's Place") and Abashiri. I loved it there; would love to go back to Japan, but it's unlikely.

C'est moi, Hah! Yes, I believe there were plenty of jokes about squid rings doing the rounds (so to speak). I can't believe they ate some of it, even if it was just a bite-sized morsel.

Robin, I could probably manage to stay in the room, but not much more. I'll eat pretty much anything that's biodegradable, but raw shellfish? However, I wouldn't go so far as to describe all shellfish the way Geoff Dyer described it in Out of Sheer Rage: as, "...vile filth which I will eat under no circumstances." That man has a way with words...

peregrina said...

Pete, I didn't realise that this was the same technique you'd used on the other image until I read your note. The two look quite different, obviously an effect of the very different subject matter. Yes, the thing I noticed most when I compared your previous image with the Tom Killion one was the lack of long flowing lines in the water. This one doesn't make me think of a woodcut at all, although the previous one did. I agree - better to call it an "illustrative technique". My immediate reaction to it, as it popped up on the screen, was to think it was an illustration from a book.

I like the poem, with its delicate play on words.

PS. I've added another comment to your "Emergence" post.

vegetablej said...

I like the effect in this photo/illustration. It's delicate, works well with the blues, and seems to warm up and solidify the wood. You've proved me wrong with this.:)

Also, lovely poem esp. "We consider you... a delicacy". :)!

MB said...

Pete, I've enjoyed this poem for its word play, internal rhymes, the way with minimal punctuation it spirals narrowly down the page — reminding me of the shape and movements of a squid — down to the brief, edgy, conclusion. Being unfamiliar with the details, the notes helped.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Peregrina. Whatever one calls the effect, it does seem quite different when applied to the squid picture compared to the river scene. It suits this photo, and as I indicated, the original was pretty dull — although its slightly soft, askew, and muted appearance might appeal to the arty crowd. It's heavily cropped, too. I guess it's a good example of why I find deleting the "rejects" so difficult. Who knows what might eventually be done with them?

VegetableJ, I think it's wrong to suggest you were wrong ;^) The previous picture didn't work for you; that's fine (and it's actually good to hear). The only thing I can think of that might have been "wrong" would have been if you'd convinced yourself you couldn't like anything using that technique. I'm glad you like this one, though, and you've pointed out some of the things that appeal to me also. This one also has the longer (less broken-up) lines mostly lacking in the river scene; this, to me, makes it somehow "stronger".

MB, I appreciate the detailed feedback. It's interesting to hear what other people find (i.e. hear or see), whether it's words or images. I sometimes have a difficult relationship with notes — I want to avoid explanations (what's said should say what needs to be said), but I also want to provide a little more for readers to explore if they're interested. Glad to know these helped :^)