Shell Game

I had no idea that there were people out there who were freeing lobsters. I always cringe when I go into a Chinese restaurant or a grocery store with a seafood section and see the poor creatures confined to their tanks, milling about helplessly with their rubber-banded claws. I’m rooting for the lobster in that scene in Annie Hall where Alvy and Annie attempt to get it in the pot.

I have often thought of releasing them myself, but where would I go with them? I don’t think they’d survive a minute in Lake Ontario or Huron and I haven’t even got a pond in my backyard. I do have a birdbath, but only a shrimp would have room to squirm in there. So, I’ll let others such as the couple noted below, take the crustacean by the claws, so to speak. (Published in The Daily Gleaner, November 3/07)
Lobster’s Lib
“You can’t put that one in a pot!”
They must have said, before they bought
The creature with the carapace.
Imagine the store owner’s face
When Crowell and his lady-wife
Paid out big bucks to save its life.
While packing up Homaridae
The Sobey’s bunch all tried to spy
To see the strangest thing unfold–
The story’s destined to be told.
Back home Chris carted arthropod;
The neighbours must have thought it odd
To see antennae peeking out.
Namesake Rex, the cat, did pout
While everyone its picture snapped;
Right relieved to see it trapped.
Then off to Bedford Institute,
Released and freed of bands to boot,
Where, Mr. Frost, the man who knows
Declared its weight o’er 10 kilos.
He’s guessing it’s gone 60 years;
A rarity this Rex appears–
Now floats it in a full-size tank;
Its liberators it can thank.
He’s on display for all to see;
An Open House is on for free…
Said lobster’s done eluding snares
Awaiting doom, all unawares;
The boiling cauldron’s, not for him;
This crustacean’s free to swim.
No more he’ll hear the ocean roar
Nor will he be a Thermidor!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007


Walk this way!

I have an interesting relationship with exercise. I’m a petite person who eats well, but when it comes to exercise, I get really bored. I must stress that I don’t mind the physical activity. I just need mental activity at the same time. It takes quite a lot to get me out the door on an overly hot or cold day to embark on a trek, or a cycle or even a stroll. I like indoor pursuits. I like privacy and keeping to myself. I’m an introvert. That’s not to say that I’m snarky or difficult in the presence of others. Let’s just say that a little bit of other people goes a long way for me. I’m really a very pleasant person. Honest. Just ask any of my friends. I’ll give you a list. You won’t need to write it down, it’s easy to remember. (There’s only a few of them.)
Now, this exercise thingy has got me in a muddle because I’m not getting any younger, and my health is always on my mind. I’m plagued with the symptoms of (dare I say it?) Menopause. I’m only 46! There’s Diabetes and Heart Disease and Osteoporosis in my family history and I’m scared to death that it will creep up on me. So, I eat as well as I possibly can, avoiding unnecessary sugars, fats and carbs and trying to get a good dose of calcium, Vitamin D and protein in my diet (although I don’t partake of anything that walks on 4 legs – so it’s peanut butter and chicken bacon for me.) I’d love to give up chicken and fish too, but to keep my husband fed without blowing the budget on organics and vegetarian foods, I need something to fall back on.
All this is to say that I know I need regular exercise. I have a stationary Schwinn bike that I do use and I do enjoy especially when I’m hooked up to my t.v. and watching East Enders – Thank God for the Brits!
Below, is one of my latest poems about my continuous struggle to get out there and walk.

Monumental Feat
I’ve rediscovered walking;
The fresh air and the stride.
Looking back I think I see
What’s held me up inside
It’s not that I am lazy
Or mind the wind that blows;
No weather really puts me off
Well– maybe tornados.
I blame it on distractions;
Small things that all add up—
An e-mail in my Inbox,
The coffee in my cup,
The bathtub that needs scouring
The laundry baskets, full,
Deciding what’s for dinner;
Each task has its own pull—
That mars my good intentions
And keeps me from the door…
Then workday’s almost over;
The clock is reading four.
Time to pick up Hubby,
Get groceries, feed the cat.
All energy is wasted;
My body’s run to fat.
So, luckily, I’ve managed
To find the muse I need;
I’m walking through a graveyard
Which, enervates my speed,
And keeps me stimulated
With names and dates of old;
Sure with these stone reminders
Incentive can’t grow cold.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2007

A Till ‘er, the Hun

Early this past summer, we were roused from our beds in the wee hours by a madman weilding a mower in the graveyard behind our house. I was bothered and bewildered by this nitwit. The following poem attempts to give the reader an impression of my outlook at the time. Recently, a local paper in my town, The Community News, published this as a letter to the Editor.
Rude Awakening
Rise at 7:00 all week long;
Joining daily grind.
Friday comes, heart swells with song;
Week’s end peace o’ mind.

Sun goes down; it’s time for bed;
Smooch my mate a kiss.
Pillow’s soft, I sink my head;
Ah! At last, such bliss!


What’s that buzzing round my ear?
Sounds like giant bee.
Swatting, yet I still can hear,
Whirr relentlessly.

Squirrel screeching — lost its mind;
As my brain-fog clears.
Rush to window, draw of blind,
Confirms my worst fears.

Do I dream? Is this for real?
This on Saturday?
Who’s this numbskull – with such zeal
On his merry way?

Snipping tops of grasses,
Snarling round the stones,
Stirring up the masses,
Shaking all the bones!

Hour hand is showing,
7:00 it is not,
Yet persists he mowing
Cemetery lot!

Begging question’s surely,
What’s inside his head?
Trying to finish early,
Or maybe wake the dead?

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Not the Thieving Magpie

A wee video about a seagull in Aberdeen Scotland, came to my attention recently and I just had to write about it. See YouTube for the full flicks.
My poem below followed as a matter of course. Surprisingly, none of the papers I contacted in Scotland seem to want to publish it. I guess it’s old news to them.

Gull Loot

Up in Scotland, way up north
Far beyond the Firth of Forth,
Therein swooped a brigand bird,
Leaving trail of more than turd–
Crumbs of crisps, have you not heard?

Sam, the locals have him tagged,
Over 24 he’s bagged.
Cheese and onion, if you please,
Carries back to his cronies–
Does it with aplomb and ease.

Waits ‘til shopman’s at the till,
Saunters in and steals his fill.
Skitters out with bright orange bag,
On the cobbles has to drag–
Of his conquest now can brag.

Not the leader of a gang,
He pulls off the whole shebang,
With a snatch that’s double-quick,
Fearless , feathered, that’s his shtick–
Gulls them all with his slapstick.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007