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Incomplete Experiment

by gard 

Posted: 09 January 2005
Word Count: 131
Summary: A piece I am working on. Sometime ago a scientist was unhappily relating a story of how a group of biologists he knew needed to chop up an octopus for their experiments. However this octopus was very friendly and they had him long enough to form a bond. They would have to kill him by dropping him into nitrogen liquid. Not one of them wanted to kill the octopus so they decided to draw straws, the person who selected the shortest straw got the grim job....
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Incomplete Experiment

The octopus blanched precipitous white just before
he was dropped into the nitrogen container.
They had drawn straws, while the octopus vigilant
behind scratched plastic coral in his enrichment tank
beat pigment from busy chromophores across his warty hide
then in greedy observation performed a favourite trick
squeezing shockingly through an almost pinhole
his mantle a blushed-rust shade reserved for food.
As he died the octopus expelled purply-black ink
while a limb suckered onto the rim of the container
a shrill frozen death grip around someones' finger
absolution overwhelming they buried the octopus at sea.
A few days later he drifted back to shore a faded phantom
embraced by empty bleached mollusk shells that freckled the beach
a freak among the dried up litter of more common marine life.

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Comments by other Members

TheGodfather at 14:54 on 10 January 2005  Report this post

I love this line -- while a limb suckered onto the rim of the container -- as if there is some sort of desperation in the octopus' eyes as he is dying, grabbing onto the last thing he can. Interesting topic and depiction.

some ones --- someone's

Keep the writing coming.


Mr B. at 18:28 on 11 January 2005  Report this post
you've managed to personalise the Octopus while keeping a scientific detachment. I particularly like the use of colour. The last lines had me asking 'what's the point'? I felt angry that the octopus had finally been killed and then they didn't do what they had killed it for! An interesting piece that was moving in an unusual way.

Kara at 17:05 on 18 January 2005  Report this post
I found your poem very moving, and also a bit strange because I dreamt the other night that my pet octopus(I haven't actuall got one) went missing. I think your poem is something i'll come back to in a few days. Thanks

gard at 17:58 on 22 January 2005  Report this post
Mr B and Kara

thanks for your comments. Yes I felt angry too (so I suppose I got rid of some of that by writing it down).

Kara, how weird heh?


paul53 [for I am he] at 12:01 on 13 March 2005  Report this post
This just turned up on the Random Read. An excellent piece.

gard at 16:27 on 13 March 2005  Report this post
thanks paul53
it does need some editing though...

I hope to get back on site soon and read everyones work (learn more)
(my job has been busy lately)


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