Tuesday poem: A persistence of jellyfish

March 3, 2015

a persistence of jellyfish
flesh liaisons bloom
sea-flowers have no soul

P.S. Cottier

‘sea-flowers…’is from Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Blue_bottle_jelly_fish

This bluebottle is the sort of lovely Australian creature that delights visitors. The image (PD Wiki Commons) is very fine, but doesn’t show the long tail of the creature, which is the bit that stings.

I have a vivid memory of swimming out of my depth, when one of these wrapped around my arm like a mad doctor’s blood pressure tester. I had to swim to shore, against a slight overtow, with a band of pain tightening around one of my arms. I developed a delightful weal on my arm, resembling a string of rubies given by a particularly sadistic Prince from a fairy tale by Angela Carter.*

At the time, I didn’t know how bad the sting of these creatures was, in terms of how poisonous. Fortunately, they are not too bad for most people, unlike the small invisible jellyfish found further north, which are deadly. (Some people have bad reactions to them though, as with bee-stings. See this article.)

Interestingly, the bluebottle is actually a co-operative of creatures that band together, rather than a single life-form. I believe that these are the sorts of things that we will find on other planets. ‘Other planets’ here means the south coast of NSW.

I believe that Australian wildlife may be touched on in the central Tuesday Poem this week. Press this link and find out.

*UPDATE: I have been flicking through other posts by Tuesday Poets, and just noticed that Helen Lowe is featuring a poem by Tim Jones about Angela Carter. There is an absence of jellyfish in the fine poem, but the coincidence tickled me. Like a bluebottle, but a lot less painful.

3 Responses to “Tuesday poem: A persistence of jellyfish”

  1. Geoff said

    Nasty stingy things … I’ve had the pleasure!
    That said I am fond of their blues…

  2. pscottier said

    The colour is a real warning, but you often can’t see them in the water. And the pain is just excessive.

    You make them sound like musicians, Geoff…

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