By John McGrath
By Carrigafoyle I found them on the shore,
catastrophe of crabs at Shannonside,
a hundred thousand corpses, maybe more,
abandoned high and dry by ebbing tide.
So small and white like pebbles by the sea,
I wondered what disaster had ensued,
what plague or poison shaped this tragedy
that wrought misfortune of such magnitude.
No massacre, I learned, but nature’s ways.
Somewhere beneath the wild Atlantic swells
each tiny creature sheds its carapace,
together they cast off their outgrown shells
and then, on cue, the mating games begin,
those age-old ecstasies of skin on skin.
©July 2021 John McGrath
Previously appeared in author's recent collection,
After Closing (Moybella Press 2021).