Arthur Bayldon (20 March 1865 - 26 September 1958 / Leeds, England)
(On a Queensland Beach)
Poisonous, bloated, crab-like shapes
Crawl in gangs around these capes-
Stopping here and feeding there,
Listening, crawling everywhere;
Searching every rotten weed
With a frothing, wild-eyed greed:
Fighting o'er a lump of scurf
Or a red boil of the earth;
Thrusting up their writhing claws
To their grinning, fiend-like maws.
And these horrid creatures wet
With a thick, unwholesome sweat
Have most hideous banquets here
On the poor drowned marineer.
Down they hurry eagerly
Chittering all the way with glee:
They have smelt the tainted air
From that body festering there.
How they twitch their claws and pry
Into each distorted eye;
How they spit on him with spite
As their nippers pinch and bite;
How they strip him clean and bare,
Leaving not a morsel there,
Till they're gorged and all squat near
Fleshless remnant with a leer.
When the billows near them roll
Each will scope himself a hole
In the mud-banks, and therein
Sleep like an embodied sin.
In the world so crass and blind
Human crabs feed on their kind:
Glutted creatures that devour
All that fall within their power;
Skulking each near his own hole,
They smell out each human soul
Tossed up on Life's stony shore,
Weary, friendless, weak and poor.
Comments about this poem (Crabs by Arthur Bayldon )
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