Friday, April 24, 2009

Ted Hughes


“submarine delicacy
and horror”
—Ted Hughes, Pike

Mosasaur—fifty feet long
Monsters—of the Early Cretaceous
Twenty million years—ruled the oceans
Dominant marine killers—powerful swimmers

Stalking the shallow—epicontinental seas
Malevolent prehistoric grin—all teeth
Submarine horror show—sulky grandeur
Sleek like modern-day—monitor lizards

Elongated and streamlined—gloomy eyes
Webbed toes—elongated digit-bones
Tails broad and muscular—deadly fast
Slithery like sea snakes—conger eels today

Lurking in the shallows—ancient seas
Beneath seaweed stillness—looking upwards
Double row of pterygoid—flanged teeth
Double-hinged jaw—like anacondas today

Sea levels high—during the Cretaceous
Great inland seas—transgressing the land
Masosaurs—from the Gulf of Mexico
All the way to the—Canadian border

Embedded deep—in Maastricht limestone
Naming the final—six-million year epoch
Of the Cretaceous—the Maastrichtian
Sag belly and deadly smile—like pike today

Aquatic monsters—giving live birth
In the warm Cretaceous—shallow seas
Six million years—scaly and muscular
The same serpent eye—eyeing me now
Outlasting me—bobbing little Bayliner

Stilled by such—legendary hauntings
Deeper than—the deep blue sea
Past midnight—drifting on the lake
Hair on the back—of my neck erect

Lollygagging south—of Mercer Island
Mt Rainier—glowing in the moonlight
Volcanic plume-spilled—days of wonder
Flooding Enumclaw—plains northward

I get nervous—in the darkness
Hearing things—far down below me
Darkness—inside mosasaur darkness
Slowly rising up—towards me hungry

No comments: