The Dead Crab
by Andrew Young
A rosy shield upon its back,
That not the hardest storm could crack,
From whose sharp edge projected out
Black pin-point eyes staring about;
Beneath, the well-knit cote-armure
That gave to its weak belly power;
The clustered legs with plated joints
That ended in stiletto points;
The claws like mouths it held outside:
I cannot think this creature died
By storm or fish or sea-fowl harmed
Walking the sea so heavily armed;
Or does it make for death to be
Oneself a living armoury?
I love the detailed description of the crab, the poet’s eye as discerning as the naturalist’s, and then that turn in the last couplet. . . .
I found this gem in one of my favorite poetry anthologies, The Rattle Bag, edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, a book I know I’ve mentioned before. It’s a delightful collection of both poets’ favorite poems. The poems are arranged alphabetically, which leads to very fun browsing. You really never know what you will find on the next page. I love to flip it open and discover a new treasure.