Home About Dan Books / Reviews Events Selected Poems Slideshow / Video Contact  

To Debbie After I Had Already Eaten The Octopusses

for Debbie Gustin

Last night, over a pizza,
I told you how, last week
I had eaten a marinated
baby octopus or two
in the Japanese restaurant.
Actually I ate four of them,
all tiny and tender and still,
(except for the one
which was a bit tough).

I told you that I
had first hesitated, seeing
them there huddled together
on the square china plate.
But I didn’t want to
embarrass myself
in front of my wife
(who was unsure about
the idea from the start),
or the little Japanese girl
who had served them up.

I felt like a crow, or worse,
some kind of viper,
robbing them of their
forever unfulfilled lives.
I left one there, just
to show that I wasn’t
heartless, even in my hunger,
capable of the truest mercies.

But then you told me
of the program that you
had just watched, on
The Remarkable Octopus,
how they were so smart,
possessed of true sentiments,
tender creatures, and
almost human you said.

I suppose we could have
also wept for the pizza.

Instead I thought that, perhaps
those babies might have
one day survived to become the
Lunging up to grasp a ship of refugees,
or even eco-tourists on holiday.
Dragging them down screaming
into a grave of briny blackness.

So, now I prefer to be:
That brave man who had
saved four fine ships, and
the lives of many scores of
old women and babies,
on the high savage seas
fleeing places of hunger and tyrants.
A great man with this one regret:

One should not trifle with monsters.

I should have eaten the last
of those wicked little bastards,
and asked for a second helping.


Daniel Thomas Moran



"The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them."

-Henry David Thoreau


© 2013 Daniel Thomas Moran - All Rights Reserved

Website created by Websites by Kathy, Concord, NH