Ode to a Dead Crab

I don’t know much
About canaries
In coal mines,
But I spent enough of my childhood
Scrambling over low-tide rocks
And watching
Crabs
Under stones
And in rock pools
To know that
They ain’t
Supposed to be
Dead.
But here I am
Four days into
A tour of the remoter parts
Of the Scottish coast
And I’ve seen a total of
Two live crabs, little ones,
And scores and scores
Of big ones
Dead.
And now,
I’m on the beach
By Eilean Reilean
On the windswept island of Ulva
And here you are
Little fella
And you’ve got me thinking:
How come you’re dead?
How come you and your kin
Are lying around here, belly up,
Not even eaten
By something bigger than yourself
But just
Dead.
And it’s got me thinking
That maybe it’s a
Lack of oxygen in the water
Or a sudden temperature change
Or the toxic waste
From those fish farms
That used to be here,
Or from those still active
On the other side of the island
Or next door
On Inch Kenneth.
Or maybe it’s the teflubenzuron
Or one of the other chemicals they use
To kill sea-lice, which feed on
Farmed salmon
But which, like you
Are crustaceans.
And it’s got me thinking
That whatever you did
In your short crab life
You didn’t deserve this.
And it’s got me thinking
That if we don’t
Stop poisoning the sea
She’s going to start
Poisoning us back.