Utterly Otterly!

BathtubOtters

Hi there cutey lutraphiles! As some will have heard from my social media trumpets, all is going ahead with my second collection of poetry, Utterly Otterly! Containing poems and illustrations by Yours Truly, all otter-themed, many ludicrous. Also containing the writing prompts I was working from, and my excuses for why I ended up doing something else instead.

You too can pre-order a book, which will be published and sent out in October. You could even fund me further by ordering a print of Otters In The Bathtub (above), or a bespoke otter of your very own! Simply follow this link to my GoFundMe page, which will remain open for donations/pre-orders until we go to press in around 6-8 weeks time.

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Sea Otter Prayer

The designated call-and-response for today has allowed me to combine some research lists, that of shark species and Ocean goddesses. Now, the competent marine biologists among you will no doubt be able to tell me exactly which of the following sharks have no interest in eating sea otters, but for now let’s just go with the flow, alright?

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Sea Otter Prayer

Sedna, mother of storms,

From Blacktips save us

From Silvertips, Silkys,

Duskys, Coppers, Blues.

Deliver us safe from their mouths

 

Nerrivik, lady of the deep places,

From Tigers keep us

From Leopards, and Smoothhounds

Sharptoothed, Grey and Brown.

Delivers us safe from their mouths.

 

Arnakuagsak, daughter of the creator,

Protect us from Hammerheads,

Malletheads, Bonnetheads,

Bulls, Swells and Sicklefins.

Deliver us safe from their hunger.

 

Arnapkapfaaluk, Big Bad Woman

Let us not fall into the Megamouth,

Keep far from us your Goblins,

Horns, Nurses, Pacific Angels.

Deliver us safe from their hunger.

 

We are the smallest of your fingers

Cut from you and fallen in the bitter sea.

Gather us away from Great Whites.

Sedna, deliver us.

 

 

 

No jokes here today, just otters

Aniaks-pup-31-Jan-b-009-1024x819I usually love writing ‘How To’ instructional poems, they can be a great excuse to get a bit surreal. I’m sure a ‘How To Be An Otter’ poem would have gone to a happy place, had I not clicked on an otter anatomy site in my research and been indelibly scarred by pictures of dissected sea otters killed by ingesting crude oil from a tanker disaster. I am not giving you that link, people. It also made for a slightly angry poem.

How To Care For An Oiled Otter

First, put aside any notion that otters swim,

agile and unblemished, through an ocean

pure as tempered starlight.

Pollute your vision with plastic frags,

run-off, effluent, and the crude suppuration of oil

bleeding out of smashed tankers,

venting from mismanaged seabed hellmouths.

Don’t like it? Suck it up.

Tar patties will clog your sentiment until

finally it sinks in – your buoyancy

is fatally compromised.

Now you are ready for the work.

 

Dip-net for speed, Kevlar-gloved

in case they break open caustic-ravaged mouths

to bite, in case they have some vestige of sight.

Use the stuff-sack, the holding-box, the heat-lamp,

and wash, wash, wash, wash, wash.

Soft water makes a difference. So can you.

For two hours each otter, this is all you do,

care for something that can never

thank you or profit you or forgive

our species rendering them collateral.

And if their pelage softens and restores its guard,

if their temperature ceases its giddy rollercoaster,

if they have guts enough left unblistered to digest clams you shuck,

if you have used masks and blinds and feeding chutes

so after all of that they are still sufficiently wild,

release them, and wait for the next time.