After the World Cup, our octopus curled up,
perched atop his scrap of pink coral.
Like all life on the reef, he stood tall in relief,
Of course that Octopus was Paul.
Around a tank stood, beer drinkers from the hood,
A TV on the wall was playing.
They all knew it was Paul, that sage of football,
Who swam in that seawater aquarium.
Paul swung a long arm, as he took up a song:
"They've upgraded my lodgings since winning.
So much money's been made by visitors who paid,
Respects to my soccer ball singing . . .
"In all Oberhausen, 'twas I who got chosen . . . "
the sage old octopus chimed.
"In professional life, as a bookmaker on ice,
I never complained, or once whined . . .
"My life at behest of my barkeeper's jest,
That his fans would lose to a pet.
So came my karma, to excel at the dharma,
Betting for what's soft and what's wet.
"He's constructed a temple, thank God I'm kept single,
and granted a bit more space.
I can straighten one tentacle while scraping off barnacles,
from the walls of this glass carapace.
"Some short time ago - oceanic time is so slow,
I cemented all cephalopoid fame.
I picked eleven Cup winners, in return for my dinner
And surpassed all other fauna in name.
"You might say the internet, broadcast that dinner bet,
Logically I'd have to agree.
My achievements were mortal, all for some morsels,
Of clams that died for my feat.
"I'd spin you tall tales, of sea monsters and whales,
known by lore of the sea.
The list of my heroes, is long although feral,
Indulge while I sing to you three."
Three brunettes had just sauntered, towards the tank that Paul haunted,
perched atop a pink coral remnant.
"How exquisitely formed!" one exclaimed so absorbed.
"With eyes and brains, he's clearly brilliant!"
Paul overheard, so blushed pink at her words:
"I practice the art of deep learning . . .
I'm glad you took notice, of my feats as a novice,
when I selected the eight teams with discerning."
The beauty inferred, 'By what method, by what word?
The thoughts this creature is sharing!
He knows how to entrain, his ideas towards my brain,
'And so bridges our language barrier!'
"I broadcast my thoughts, via neural onslaughts
radio waves so tuned to your brain.
That when you stand near me, I swear you can hear me,
The tales I'm about to entrain . . .
"I'll enlighten you a bit, as you pull up to sip,
that beer you just got at the bar.
Beauties listen closely, as I spell out a bit grossly,
how we cephalopods have gotten thus far . . .
"The history of AI, is nothing to my . . .
ability to boot up quickly.
Any subject you choose I'll learn and you'll lose,
It's a matter of octal programming.
"Nerves will learn better, in an environment that is wetter,
I soaked up what was taught at the Center.
A squid whispered tips on a technique to read lips,
Ecologists became my close mentors.
"The news of the Times, does no justice to brine,
the citizens of the sea are exploited.
Editors at the Post will have to play host,
To denizens of the deep re-anointed.
"On the phone through the glass, from TV and in class,
they speak of my neural network.
But none can surpass, the reality of that task,
seven victories at prophetic bet-work,
"English is no trick - Octopus makes you sick,
You haven't the stomach to watch it.
It's a light show of tentacles - not one limb writes identical,
No one'll unravel our Gorgon logic.
"Back in the day, before evolution held sway,
there was an early innovation of sex.
The birth of the mollusks, 'whatever' said Wallace,
had Darwin most throughly perplexed.
"With my hectocotylus - think penis or think stylus -
I write verse for the octopus nation.
This limb number three, I could offer to thee,
then grow another by self-generation.
"A professor last week - I overheard him in speech,"
joked Paul, "said we're born of an alien race.
It doesn't make sense, our genome's so immense,
Our proteins contend for first place.
"Of cephalopod suckers - think kisses that pucker -
two-thousand does seem like a lot.
After counting eight limbs, it seems more like a sin,
To have science so tied in a knot.
"Before I commence mumbling, about amorous tumbling,
I'll get on with my tales in cadence.
I promised thee three, about the life in the sea,
then take it a bit more X-rated."
"To remain in the sea - we're not plain but we're tasty,
seems contrary to becoming archival.
Before I recount, let me divulge from my mount,
the art of cephalopod survival.
"As a species we're fed, from birth by the web,
On knowledge of the sea that surround us.
We gather the facts, and use them to match hats,
That masterfully do camouflage us.
"Our eyes surmise texture, and analyze the deep structure,
Of coral and anemone blossoms.
We pinch up our surfaces, to rhyme like these verses,
With the flora and fauna on the bottom.
"In brains versus brawn, the octopi have outrun,
the reptiles, mammals and fishes,
Cephalopod three-hundred, are like Spartans outnumbered,
some have unfortunately gone missing.
"An Aussie-ringed cousin, once learned to use poison,
as a chemical last line of defense.
A tidal pool dweller, with azure markings stellar,
Spelled 'don't touch' to the birds that had sense.
"Another technique, for eight legs on the slink,
is an cloud of melanin that stings,
It balances the equation, to jet away in evasion,
in hopes that a predator rethinks.
"We've given up hard homes, we never had bones,
Our children trade up what they find.
An old cousin's shell, or a junk sandbox pail,
Will house them just perfectly fine.
"When octopi get large, they needn't go forage,
when wandering out on safari.
We've learned to disguise, with colorful dyes,
our delectable flesh calamari.
"Set up on top, of a coral outcrop,
Color and texture to match.
When along swims our dinner, there's an octopus winner,
and a crab to go up the hatch.
"Like humans we're soft, though not nearly so daft,
As warriors we employ Musashi's strategy.
We reach out and tap, a shrimp on its back,
So it swims right into our cavity.
"'Midst sharks and barracudas, in the dark sit like Buddha -
in brains we're highly invested.
We co-ordinate eight arms, to avoid violence and harm -
Our cerebellums have thoroughly been tested.
"On this topic of brains, let me now entertain,
a mollusky tale of collusion.
How one octopus scholar, untwisted the top on a jar,
and then threw his lab in confusion.
"After doctors went home, this octopus would roam,
invading tanks with profusion.
He swallowed snails, the fish in their pails,
then retreated to conceal his intrusion.
"He pulled shut his cover, when night missions were over,
then watched the blame-game begin.
'Who stole from our lab? Who robbed all the crabs?'
The PhD's were dismayed to their kin.
"A question was suggested, by lab tech who whispered,
'Perhaps it's an eight-armed felon.'
But how could this morsel, of jelly corpuscles,
navigate a dry floor with such talent?
"When an octopus escapes, he becomes as thin as a crepe,
There isn't a void he can't wiggle free.
A cephalopoid prisoner like a Marseillaise safe-picker,
can pick locks with a paperclip key.
"He lowered himself down, with suckers wound-round,
the legs of tables and furniture.
Filling his mantle, with seawater to make gentle,
his progress across the dry tile desert.
"He squirted a puddle, across which he scuttled,
then climbed each aquarium in turn.
Raiding the mollusks, he dined them in solace,
and by dawn returned to his berm.
"Back to our story, I hope you won't worry,
that our hero dried up on a rug.
Not at all, I enthrall, with a tale that's not tall,
How this Octopus vulgaris got caught.
"The simplest of brains, displays intelligence in spades,
the complex of Mensa chosen.
Survival on the reef is not easily achieved,
with defenses of speed, ink or poison.
"We octopi hide with genius inside,
Camouflage is better than evasion.
Sun Tzu's strategy of war, is indeed at our core,
Passed to the next octopoid generation.
"And now that your here, I'll play music to your ears,
I'll explain how we octopi do it.
No need for protection from this x-rated section,
Deep down you already knew it.
"Having eight arms gives a lover great charms;
We males use our third arm . . . as a penis.
It's not even bony, or a fossil that's stony,
Ideal for the octopus Venus.
The Colossus of Rhodes wasn't embarrassed to have shown,
the might that made him a God.
His statues on Delos, most definitely do tell us,
of his thing that's so shaped like a rod.
Unlike a cod, the soft cephalopod,
His baculum's given to octopus Eve.
The tradition's to donate, a piece of his stone age,
That rises from his tentacle weave.
"We'll often be urged, when out on a splurge,
Take it off to gift as a flower!
She takes it right home to nurture with foam,
and impregnate with cephalopod power.
"The octopus bed, suddenly turns red,
Exodermus and suckers to match.
A Pacific Striped Venus, takes hold what's keenest,
in hopes of the sperm she will catch.
"One kiss beak to beak, a shudder and squeak,
a great tangle of limbs get inspected.
The octopoid liturgy gets mumbled in synergy,
DNA is suddenly injected.
One painful admission, about cephalopoid emission,
Our DNA finds hay but once.
A sad truth to divulge, is that once we find love,
We dry up and die, like a dunce.
The secret to living, for an octopus that is winning,
Is to never provide him a dame.
A cephalopod bookie who successfully avoids nooky,
Can live to write poetry fame.
This is part II of 'Song of Paul', for Part I go here.