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Eric Pinder

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Spider Crabs and Poets at the Aquarium
By Eric Pinder   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, May 19, 2008
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2008

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A monstrous crab at the New England Aquarium shocks parents and inspires unusual rhymes.

"What is that!" gasped the mother standing behind us, holding the hand of her three- or four-year-old daughter. If not for the presence of children she probably would've said, "What the hell is that?" which is what all of us were thinking.

We had been watching small blue fish zigzag in front of the glass window at the New England Aquarium. A lobster crawled out of a cave and waved a claw. And then, in the back, we saw…it. An eight-legged spider-like creature lurched forward. Think of the scene in one of the Lord of the Rings movies where the giant hobbit-eating spider creature Shelob creeps over the hill behind her unsuspecting prey, filling the entire screen. That's what this queen spider crab looked like as it emerged from the back of the exhibit. It charged the glass as if thinking, "It's lunchtime, and you're all on the menu."

That was one of the highlights of my first visit to the aquarium since childhood, in the company of an old friend and her three-year-old. Said toddler has been getting me to read a lot of children's books, which in turn has inspired me to try writing some kids' books. An afternoon with seals, giant sea turtles, and pulsating jellyfish awaked my inner muse. I quickly jotted down a few lines:

In Boston the aquarium has eels and sharks. You all should come and see the queen crab creep and crawl. I think she wants to eat us all.

There was more, but then my muse went back to sleep and realized it wasn't any good. Since I wasn't going to sell it anywhere, why not post it for free?

"That doesn't even rhyme," said my friend, glancing at my hastily scribbled words.

"Yes, it does."

"No it doesn't. What rhymes with sharks?"

"Nothing. The rhymes occur every eight syllables, not necessarily at the end of a sentence." I demonstrated, emphasizing each beat, "In Boston the aquariUM (pause) has eels and sharks. You all should COME (pause) and…"

She looked dubious. "Are you allowed to do that?"

Not only are you allowed, I think it's harder to do and more impressive when done well. (Not that I did it well.) There's probably a name for it. Internal rhyming, maybe? I wish more poets, songwriters and children's book authors would vary their rhyming schemes like that. There was a pop song last year that did this fairly well. It rhymed, but not in the usual predictable places you'd normally expect a song to rhyme. I wish I could remember the name or singer, because I tried to cite it for my skeptical friend.

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